The Philippine Trade Foundation (PTF) supports the move to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution in order to strengthen the country’s competitiveness with the rest of its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
In a statement on Wednesday, PTF president Tony Lopa urged the Aquino administration to support the calls for charter change given the approaching deadline for the creation of an Asean Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015.
“By relaxing the limitations on foreign ownership, the Philippines will not only be able to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), it will also be able to maximize the benefits from the Asean integration and create jobs for the Filipino people,” Lopa said.
The TPP is a proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty that is expected to eliminate tariffs on goods and services. It will also set standards and harmonize regulations on issues such as intellectual property, environment protection, and labor rights among TPP members on both sides of the Pacific.
However, restrictive provisions in the Philippine Constitution, such as limits on foreign ownership in certain sectors, are hindering the country’s participation In the TPP, he said.
The trade group noted that for inclusive growth to be achieved, the country must accelerate the pace of economic growth by instituting a more open policy regime that nurtures a globally competitive investment climate that can be sustained beyond political timelines.
The PTF said it supports the passage of Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, a measure that seeks to amend the 1987 Constitution to include the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to certain portions of its economic provisions.
If approved, it would allow the current restrictions on foreign ownership to be amended by an act of Congress. The measure is currently pending approval on second reading at the House of Representatives.
The PTF is an alliance of some of the most respected leaders in the country. It aims to establish a reformed business environment to attract new and domestic foreign investments to the country by encouraging the business sector to engage investors in long-term partnerships and investments in the Philippines.
Members of the Board of Trustees include Tonyboy Cojuangco, who serves as chairman of the board; Susing Pineda (vice chairman); Tony Lopa (president); and Babe Romualdez (executive vice president).
Other board trustees and officers include Ricky Razon, Tito Ortiz, Tony Tan Caktiong, Gigi Montinola, Fred Yao, Yosi Tanco, Tony Tuviera, Beaver Lopez., Fausto Preysler Jr., Mike Varela, Elizabeth Lee, Opap Villonco, Annie Tan-Yee and RP Manhit.