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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

10 January 2021 11:39:09 AM

I have instructed the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments to open the discussions on amending the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, as stated within Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 2 that I have authored.

When I filed RBH 2 in July 2019, the Philippines was poised to become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. The World Bank gave the country a projection of 6.6 percent GDP growth in the years 2020 and 2021.

No one could have predicted the onset of a global pandemic, along with the devastation it has brought upon the economies around the world.

To set the stage for our economic recovery, Congress passed the P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021, which includes a P72.5-billion appropriation for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for Filipinos. We also extended the availability of funds appropriated through the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2 and the 2020 General Appropriations Act to help the country recover from the pandemic.

As global economies slowly start to reopen, we cannot allow the Philippines to lag behind in terms of investments and opportunities. We need to seize the momentum if we are to fully recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19.

It is incumbent upon the duly-elected representatives of the Filipino people to enact laws that will provide much-needed economic relief to our countrymen, especially during these unprecedented times. RBH 2 seeks to liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution that prevent us from becoming fully competitive with our Asian neighbors. We are proposing to amend Sections 2, 3, 7, 10 and 11 of Article XII (National Patrimony and Economy), Section 4 of Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports) and Section 11 of Article XVI (General Provisions) to add the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law.” The addition of this phrase will allow Congress to enact laws to free up the economy to foreign investors, or maintain the status quo.

Foreign investment plays a crucial role in the Philippine economy by supporting domestic jobs and the creation of physical and knowledge capital across a range of industries. The need to attract foreign capital is critical to support our economy’s recovery from COVID-19.

We hope to finish the debates before the end of 2021 and present it to the public for ratification alongside the election of new leaders in the 2022 national elections. Until then, we assure the public that the debates on RBH 2 will be transparent and fair.#