"At the end of the day, we are all on the same boat."
Conversations about the amendment of the Constitution have again resurfaced. We have been attesting to the need for this proposal for quite some time as the current Constitution has proven to be inadequate in addressing today's demands.
We have seen how the economy struggled when everything was held on pause during the lockdown. Apart from the government’s social amelioration program, the services sector mainly kept the country afloat. Business process outsourcing companies, in particular, were able to continue operations amidst the quarantine. Agricultural and industrial sectors, on the other hand, have been greatly affected. Digital commerce paved the way for economic resumption. However, not all local companies and businesses are able to keep up.
Hence comes the need to improve and upgrade the capabilities of local enterprises. However, with our limited resources, skills, and technology, we are unable to compete. Many of our local companies are capable, but standing alone, they may be easily vulnerable to the effects of economic recession. More so, the companies which remain operational are usually the monopolies which hinder inclusive and large-scale economic growth.
We put a premium and priority to our local investors and businessmen, but the reality of the pandemic and its impact on the economy cannot solely be cushioned internally. This is why foreign investments are very important. The Constitution puts limits to the extent of foreign investments allowed in the country. Thus, there is a need to amend the law to ease these restrictions.
However, let us not forget the risks we are dealing with when we liberally open the economy to foreign companies. For instance, national security should be considered when allowing foreign involvement in public utilities. Reasonable sharing of profits with Filipino counterparts should also be assured to help build local potential. Also, taxation laws should be strictly implemented to ensure that these companies will be remitting correct taxes to the government.
The negative connotation tied to charter change should be changed. Many resist the idea because they deem this a political move to retain power. However, they do not fully understand that the economic provisions that will be amended will actually be beneficial to the national economy. I hope lawmakers would assure the public with constitutional safeguards along with these amendments to prevent abuse and neglect of local capital. Moreover, I urge our lawmakers not to take advantage of this move to perpetuate power. Let us keep in mind of the public trust endowed to us and of the utmost priority to public safety and welfare. At the end of the day, we are all on one boat. Let us keep this boat afloat while we survive this pandemic.