LAWMAKERS play an important role in our fight against the pandemic. They provide the laws needed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to help the economy recover. But they are useless if they have no sense of direction.
Sharing my opinion I think is the country’s largest organization of businessmen who believe lawmakers should focus on passing bills that will help in economic recovery and in building the country’s resiliency rather than amending the Constitution.
Amid the global outbreak, there are members of the House of Representatives pushing for Charter change. But PCCI is cautious at the timing and manner by which the Constitution is being proposed to be amended.
Last week, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., said the Cha-cha discussions should focus on amending restrictive economic provisions in line with the directive of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico said while the initiative for Cha-cha aims to lift certain restrictions in the economy, there are pending bills that can push for economic liberalization.
Among these bills that should be prioritized include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Act, the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery or GUIDE Act, and the Public Service Act.
While it may be the fastest option, inserting the provision ‘unless otherwise provided by law’ in sections of the Constitution that limit foreign equity to 40 percent in business ventures that are considered of critical interest to the Filipino people, could potentially weaken the country’s highest law by making it easier for ordinary legislation to amend the Constitution, Yujuico said.
He added the PCCI supports the lawmakers’ initiatives to further open the economy to enhance the country’s competitive position globally, attract more foreign investors to set up and expand their businesses here, addressing monopolistic and uncompetitive behaviors, and under-investments in some sectors critical to public interest.
But this should be done in a deliberate and careful manner that will continue to make the Constitution withstand various economic interests but especially the test of time, Yujuico said.
Claims of car industry groups that the safeguard duties imposed on imported vehicles will result in job losses in the country are not true.
Safeguard duty is definitely meant to help and boost local manufacturing revival efforts and meant to protect local jobs in the manufacturing of cars and light commercial vehicles, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Both the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) expressed their concern over the provisional safeguard duties on imported passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez earlier said sales volume of vehicles are expected to be lower due to the safeguard measure on imported vehicles, which will pose “risk of employment downsizing”.
Lopez said CAMPI’s concern on sales shows that they are selling more imported cars. He reminded the group that imported vehicles are not banned.
Earlier, a provisional safeguard duty of P70,000 per unit for imported passenger cars and P110,000 per unit for imported light commercial vehicles will be imposed for 200 days.
The decision for the Department of Trade and Industry to slap safeguard duty on imported passenger cars and light commercial vehicles is a result from its preliminary determination, which found out that imported cars have caused serious injury to the domestic market.
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