AMENDING the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution will stop the practice of “dummying” in the business industry.
This was pointed out by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., as he expressed full support for the proposed amendments to the restrictive economic provisions.
According to Barzaga, it is about time that the provisions are changed because some foreign corporations easily get around the prohibition on foreign ownership by resorting to dummying.
Barzaga, a veteran CPA-lawyer and the president of the National Unity Party (NUP), said it only makes sense that the questionable provisions are amended since foreign corporations have long been skirting the Constitutional prohibition on ownership of lands and businesses.
He said some mass media companies are able to operate in the country “and they are just using dummies, in direct violation of our laws.”
“Kaya ako since 2007, I was already in favor of Charter Change,” he said in an interview.
The 1987 Constitution limits foreign ownership of land and businesses to only 40 percent and sets aside the other 60 percent exclusively to Filipino citizens or corporations, a provision which Barzaga pointed out is almost 100 years old since it was lifted from the 1935 Contitution.
The House committee on constitutional amendments last week started hearing Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s proposed Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which seeks to liberalize these constitutional provisions which the Speaker said “prevent us from becoming fully competitive with our Asian neighbors.”
The measure seeks 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.”
Barzaga said many foreign investors are discouraged by the prohibitive economic provisions of the Charter, depriving the country of the much-needed foreign direct investments (FDI).
He said that in his province some foreign corporations that are locators of the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) are complaining to him that they cannot even own land where they are running their businesses.
The FCIE is a 159.5 hectare industrial subdivision built to service all basic needs of any manufacturing concern of the light-to-medium scale industry.
“Nandito ang mga korporasyon na pag-aari ng Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and even some German companies at ang palagi nilang sinasabi, ‘Mayor, we cannot acquire (properties) where we are operating our business. Sa Japan ayaw nila pumayag na mga dummy ang aming gagawin (at sabi nila) ang problema masyado restrictive ang inyong land ownership kaya nahihirapan kami mag-invest ng continuously dito sa Pilipinas,” Barzaga shared.
Barzaga said that while the new Cha-Cha drive is solely being pushed to change the Constitution’s economic provisions, he remains in favor of a shift to a parliamentary form of government so that “there will continuity as far as the Head of State is concerned as long as he’s doing good for the country.”