THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday said they welcomed efforts to remove the economic restrictions in the Constitution, stressing the move will help unleash the economic potential of the Philippines, the second fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia.
At the continuation of public hearing of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said removing the economic barriers will lure more foreign investors into the country.
“Our economy has been recognized as the second fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia until the year 2019, right before the pandemic struck, with average growth of 6 percent for 14 consecutive quarters. We also know that such growth rates could even be higher if we were able to remove basic restrictions, such as the foreign ownership of businesses in certain sectors stipulated in the Constitution,” Lopez told the House panel.
“We therefore welcome the efforts—whether through a Charter change or the enactment of laws—in removing these economic restrictions and any barriers that limit foreign participation in investments and economic activities,” the Cabinet official said. “Eliminating these barriers will certainly unleash the high growth potential of the of the Philippines.”
Lopez shared during the hearing that prior to the pandemic, the department already had 90 investment leads, or serious investors that had already decided to set shop in the Philippines.
The DTI chief said, however, that this number was only half of the investors the country could have attracted if the economy was less restrictive.
Though members of the government economic team did not immediately provide projections of the foreign direct investment (FDI) that would result from lifting the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, House Ways and Means Chairperson and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda shared figures he had computed after consultations with economists and experts.
His estimates show that RBH No. 2 could lead to an additional average annual FDI of PHP330 billion pesos (US$6.8 billion) and generate 6.6 million jobs over a 10-year period.
A report by the 38th Global Investment Trends Monitor recently revealed that FDI flows into the Philippines for 2020 amounted to US$6.4 billion.