Concom taps Congress to lift foreign equity limits in new charter

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2018 01:01 PM | Updated as of Jun 21 2018 01:18 PM

MANILA — The new federal constitution drafted by Malacañang’s consultative committee will allow Congress to pass a law liberalizing the Philippine economy to attract more foreign investments, its chairman said Thursday.

But the existing restrictions on foreign ownership of land here “will not be lifted,” former Chief Justice Reynato Puno told a Manila forum.

“The ownership of our land belongs to Filipinos and will remain with the Filipinos and the future generations of Filipinos,” he said. “We cannot allow Filipinos to be the foreigners in their own country.”

Foreign equity is generally limited to 40 percent under Philippine laws, and is totally prohibited in areas such as mass media, except for recording.

“This debate on whether we should now liberalize these restrictions has run for nearly a century. It is time to decide what is best for the country,” Puno said.

“We have decided to allow Congress to pass a law to liberalize these economic restrictions.”

The committee’s proposal is similar to some bills in Congress, which seek only to relax the economic provisions without overhauling the constitution or shifting to federalism.

Puno said the draft federal charter would be ready for submission to President Rodrigo Duterte by early next week.

“Hopefully, it till find his favor and he will endorse it to Congress,” Puno said.