MANILA - Land ownership should be left out of discussions on Charter change, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said on Tuesday.
The Finance chief said that while he supports easing restrictions on ownership and entry in certain businesses, the issue of "land ownership is too emotional."
"Just the mention of this will scuttle everything. Let's do something doable. Let's open up the economy elsewhere.”
Dominguez said easing restrictions on foreign entry into certain industries and sectors will benefit consumers. He cited the opening of the rice industry to foreign imports via the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL).
"We just got the figures on rice tariffication. Rice production is up. Half is due to good weather, half is due to farmers having the money we gave them from tariffication. The price of rice has gone down by about 20 percent," Dominguez said.
"This is why we should look at the constitution and open as much as possible,” he added.
Several business groups have said that they support amending some of the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution but warned against possible moves to include other amendments not related to the economy.
Rice farmer groups meanwhile have been denouncing the RTL saying many small farmers are suffering because they can't compete with cheap imported rice.