Philippines eyes constitutional amendments to ease economic restrictions

December 11, 2023 - 11:06 AM
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philippine peso bills
A money changer counts Philippine pesos in Manila in file photo. (The STAR/KJ Rosales)

 Philippine lawmakers are considering efforts to amend the country’s constitution to ease restrictive provisions on economic ownership, a top congressional leader said on Monday.

“We want to lift the restrictive provisions vis a vis the economy,” House Speaker Martin Romualdez said in an economic briefing.

Romualdez said top congressional leaders of the country’s political parties are meeting Monday to discuss procedural issues that have hampered past efforts to amend the Philippines‘ 1987 constitution.

The amendments, he said, will allow lawmakers to “regulate” economic sectors that can be opened for foreign investors.

Foreign business chambers have been urging Congress to lift current limits to foreign investment, including the so-called 60-40 rule, which caps foreign ownership of local firms at 40%.

Past efforts to rewrite the constitution have failed. Critics have said efforts to amend the constitution could also open doors for lawmakers to lift term limits for elected officials.

– Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor