MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said he will support moves to amend the Constitutional limits on foreign ownership of enterprises as long as Congress approves the measure.
Speaking before members of the Wallace Business Forum in Malacanang on Monday night, the president announced he is willing to reverse the "60:40" limitation on foreign ownership.
According to the 1987 Constitution, certain areas of investments are reserved for Filipino citizens or companies that are 60% owned by Filipinos.
Companies engaged in "exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources" should be also be 60% owned by Filipinos.
"About the Constitution, I am ready to reverse the 60-40 (foreign ownership limit) as long as Congress is also ready. I will go along with it," Duterte said.
"If they are willing to concentrate on the economic provisions, I said the equity can be reversed, 60:40, or 70(30)."
However, the president said he is firm in his decision that land ownership should be limited to Filipinos.
"Most of the Filipinos are poor. With the growing economy of the super-giant China and the rest, they can come always come here and buy [land], they can buy the whole of Tondo and relocate. We will be left with nothing and everything is sold," Duterte reasoned.
Duterte said easing foreign ownership restrictions will attract more foreign investments. In turn, these will provide more jobs for Filipinos.
"I am more for the opportunity for the Philippines," Duterte said. "The worry here is unemployment."
Duterte also said it is possible to have a plebiscite on these amendments to the charter in 2019.