Business groups on Friday called on the government to maintain its focus on ensuring a safe economic recovery this year and avoid tinkering with the 1987 Constitution ahead of the 2022 elections.
The business groups said they were supporting legislative reforms that would raise the Philippine economy to global standards. The groups include the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Filipina CEO Circle, Investment House Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Management Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, Philippine Retailers Association and Women’s Business Council.
“We support initiatives to liberalize the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution to enhance the country’s competitive position globally. However, we are strongly opposed to any initiative at this time to amend the constitution,” the groups said.
The 10 groups said any charter change 15 months before presidential elections would only raise fears that additional constitutional changes might be introduced and passed.
“Thus 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,” the groups said.
They also asked presidential and congressional candidates in the coming 2022 elections to express their support for the relaxation of restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution and commit to initiate steps for the adoption of such provisions within the first 12 months of their term.
They also pushed for the enactment of other bills pending in Congress that will open doors to the economy that the Constitution kept locked against the entry of foreign investors. These include the Public Service Act Amendment which was approved by the House of Representatives and is pending at the Senate committee on public services.
“The bill lifts restrictions on foreign equity ownership in some sectors currently classified as public utility. We are hoping for this and other economic bills to be enacted before the end of the 18th Congress,” they said.