BNTuner AMFM RADIO News & Technology Angara: Corruption, red tape hinder Cha-cha

Angara: Corruption, red tape hinder Cha-cha

PERSISTENT corruption and red tape would render “useless” revisions in the economic provisions of the Constitution meant to attract foreign investors, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said.

In a press conference on Thursday, Angara was asked whether amendments to the economic provisions in the Charter would be useful in enticing foreign investors despite concerns of corruption and red tape.

“No. I think [it’s] not useful even if we amend the Constitution and yet corruption and red tape [problems] have not changed [or eradicated],” said Angara, head of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, which tackled Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6 on February 5.

Speaking in Filipino, Angara said what investors all over the world look for aside from the return rate of investment (ROI) is “predictability.”

“They don’t want to be surprised with new higher taxes. It’s because corruption is an informal tax. If this would not change, there will be no increase in [foreign investment],” said Angara.

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for The Manila Times newsletters

By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara

Angara said the need to address corruption was brought up during the first public hearing on RBH 6, which aims to amend the perceived “restrictive” economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

“We should not expect that we will have [economic] miracle if we do not clean up,” said Angara, who is also Senate Committee on Finance chairman.

He said the Senate passed the Ease of Doing Business Act, but it was not being implemented fully. “We want to do what we can, but we are not the implementers [of the law].”

Angara, on Friday, said that representatives from the country’s big business groups and economists were invited to attend the resumption of the public hearing of the Senate subcommittee on February 12 to share their expert opinions.

Angara said the panel was expecting representatives from the Makati Business Club (MBC), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), among others, to shed light on the state of the country’s economy and openness to foreign investment.

“They’re the ones in direct contact with the investors,” he said, expressing optimism that these resource persons can help the subcommittee make an informed decision on the issue.

Angara’s assurance to widen participation in the discussion of RBH 6 aligns with that of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who reassured the public on Thursday that his administration is just after the Charter’s economic provisions that hinder the entry of foreign investments.

Angara, along with Senate President Miguel Zubiri and Senate Pro Tempore Lorna Regina “Loren” Legarda, is the author of RBH 6, which seeks to amend three constitutional economic provisions related to public service, education and advertising.

Angara said there should be some flexibility in the economic provisions of the Constitution to allow the country to adjust to worldwide economic trends, reiterating that amending certain economic provisions is the sole purpose of the proposed Charter change or Cha-cha.

Some proponents attribute the lackluster performance of the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) to the restrictive and non-investor-friendly economic policies in the Constitution, while opponents point to corruption, red tape, and the high cost of doing business as stumbling blocks.

Last week, the Senate panel invited legal luminaries and constitutional experts, among them former chief justice Hilario Davide, Associate Justice Adolf Azcuna, Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza, and former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod.

Angara said more legal experts are expected in the coming public hearings, which, he said, may take place every week.

Among those expected to participate are other members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, including Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, former chief justice Ricardo Puno, former justices Antonio Carpio and Artemio Panganiban, and professors of Constitutional Law from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila.

Also invited are framers of the 1987 Constitution: Dr. Bernardo Villegas, Florangel Rosario Braid, and Ricardo Romulo.

To speak on the economic aspects: National Scientists Dr. Raul Fabella, Emmanuel Maceda and Dr. Joseph Angeles.

He added that future hearings will include a specific session dedicated to the proposed changes to address the barriers to foreign investment in the education sector.

Welcome call

Meanwhile, proponents of Charter change at the House of Representatives welcomed the pronouncement of the President to urgently amend the 1987 Constitution’s “restrictive” economic provisions.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said that the President has “made it clear” that the provisions have hindered the entry of foreign investments and the potential for faster and inclusive growth, which could lead to a better life for every Filipino.

Romualdez reiterated that the House has not been advocating political amendments.

Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said that the amendments to these economic provisions would open more opportunities and bring more jobs, technology and progress to the country.

He hopes that the Senate will pass RBH 6 by March.

Deputy Speaker and Quezon 2nd District Rep. David Suarez urged the Senate to “work faster.”

For Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the constitutional amendments could lead to more jobs for Filipinos.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel Manuel of the Makabayan Bloc thinks otherwise, saying that the push for Charter change will only lead to the exploitation of Filipinos by foreign investors due to the country’s cheap labor rates.

News Source: ManilaTimes

Total Views: 187 ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post