MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III saw no need for Charter change even as some US businessmen raised that it’s time to lift the limits on foreign ownership in key industries.
Aquino said on Saturday, January 26 in Davos, Switzerland that there should be “concrete evidence” to show the benefits of changing the 60-40 ownership rule in the 1987 Constitution that was crafted and ratified during the term of his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.
The Constitution bars foreigners from owning a stake beyond 40% in most local industries.
He said the country enjoys economic gains even as the challenged provision is in place. He cited two indicators: the Philippine Stock Exchange benchmark index, which has been breaking records and has breached the 6,100-point level already; and the 7.1% economic growth in the 3rd quarter of 2012, making the Philippine economy one of the fastest growing in the world.
Aquino, who was in Davos for the World Economic Forum annual gathering of world leaders, was asked about it as the subject of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal also came up. The TPP is seen as a move to liberalize trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
The TPP currently has Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada and Mexico as its members.
Aquino said the Philippines is yet to be invited to join the initiative. He stressed that possible participation in the deal would entail studies first.
Jose Cuisia, Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States of America has said however that even if Charter change is not yet on the table, they hope to push for it in the next Congress.
Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte are both amenable to lifting the economic restrictions in the Constitution, but Aquino has consistently opposed it.- Rappler.com
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