Marcos backs change to constitution to fit ‘globalized world’

January 24, 2024 - 11:21 AM
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos speaks to Reuters during an exclusive interview at his hotel in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2023. (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said the country’s constitution should be changed to support the economy and was “not written for the globalized world”, as the country’s senate criticized efforts to amend it as “sinister and underhand”.

Marcos, in an interview with GMA News TV aired on Tuesday, said the economic provisions of the 1987 constitution, introduced after the overthrow of his father and namesake after two decades in power, must be changed to attract more foreign investors.

While he was not closing doors to amending political provisions, Marcos said the priority should be economic parts of the constitution to ease curbs and lure foreign businesses.

Certain provisions, such as limits on ownership by foreign firms, have been criticized by some international businesses as protectionist and favoring local conglomerates.

However, some opponents of constitutional change say it is driven by an agenda to change the political system and remove term limits, including that of the president, who can currently serve just one, six-year term.

On Tuesday, the Senate in a manifesto signed by all of its 24 members, including the sister of Marcos, condemned what it described as “sinister and underhanded attempt” to change the constitution without the senate’s participation and vowed to thwart it.

“Throughout Philippine history, the Senate has always been one of the first targets by those who seek to undermine our country’s democracy,” it said.

— Reporting by Mikhail Flores and Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty