Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has expressed his support for changes on the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution citing the need for the “opening up the economy in all areas possible,” with the exception of land ownership.
“We should focus on the economic issues, open our economy more. There are people who want to discuss … the political stuff to keep themselves in power. The public will react to that, if they don’t like it,” Dominguez said at the 72nd virtual inaugural meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines yesterday.
He said the issue of land ownership is “so emotional, so let’s do something doable.”
“Let’s open up the economy,” Dominguez said citing retail trade and big construction business as some of the sectors.
“There are many other areas that need to be open. Opening up the economy challenges the local production and actually (local producers) respond positively, if there is good support,” he added.
Business groups have questioned the timing of the move by the House of Representatives to introduce changes in the Constitution.
The Makati Business Club in a statement yesterday said while it consistently and vigorously supports initiatives to introduce flexibility to the restrictive economic provisions embedded in the Constitution, introducing any charter change 15 months before presidential elections will only raise fears that other constitutional changes, some of which may be highly controversial, may be introduced and passed.
“Any attempt at charter change now will be highly divisive at a time when our country still needs to be totally united in our efforts to overcome the ill effects of the pandemic. MBC instead urges all major presidential and congressional candidates in coming 2022 elections to express their support for the relaxation of restrictive economic provisions in our Constitution and commit to initiate steps for the adoption of such provisions within the first 12 months of their term,” MBC said.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged legislators to instead prioritize bills that would help the country’s recovery.