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Opening up, lifting curbs to boost growth

The Department of Trade and Industry is in favor of further liberalizing the economy but not necessarily through constitutional amendments, Sec. Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez said it has been DTI’s principle to support moves “to open up the economy and lift restrictions that hamper economic growth, including those on foreign ownership”.

“If this could be done by passing some bills, not necessarily constitutional amendment, this is what we see as the easier way to move forward),” he said.

He said the department has nothing against Charter change, particularly if it focuses only on economic provisions, but other issues, especially political, have surfaced.

“Because when Charter change is discussed, many concerns and issues arise, like what we are seeing now),” the DT chief said.

He added that given the limited time before the start of the campaign and election period, lawmakers lack time to amend the Constitution.

Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s largest business group, said discussing Charter change amid the pandemic is untimely.

Instead of pushing for a constitutional amendment, PCCI said, lawmakers should pass pending bills that would also lift certain economic restrictions in the country.

The group was referring to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Act, and the Public Service Act, among others.