By Eileen Mencias
“As the country enters a new year and there are positive developments on the discovery and roll out of COVID-19 vaccines, the undersigned business associations call on government to maintain its focus on safe economic recovery,” a joint statement signed by 10 business groups said.
Among these groups are the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Filipina CEO Circle, Investment House Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Retailers Association, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, and Women’s Business Council Philippines.
“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,” they said.
Businessmen said pushing for charter change now would only raise fears that other constitutional changes could be introduced and passed, polarizing the country even more.
“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,” they said.
Instead of charter change, the business groups urged congress to work on other pending bills such as the Public Service Act amendment which has been approved in Congress and is now pending in the Senate Committee on Public Services. The amendment will serve the purpose of easing restrictions on foreign equity ownership by classifying some sectors as public utility.
They also urged all aspiring presidential and congressional candidates for 2022 to express support for the relaxation of restrictive economic provisions in the constitution and commit to initiate steps to work on them in the first 12 months of their term.