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Lacson: ‘We have to open up economy’

By Mario Casayuran

Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday pushed for the opening up of the country to foreign investments by deleting restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution following demands for amendments in the 31-year-old Charter.

Lacson was referring to 60-40 joint venture agreements between local businessmen and foreign investors as mandated in the Charter which he described as “so restrictive, too nationalistic to a fault.’’

Under this set up, Lacson said Filipinos lack big capital, say $10 billion, as their 60 percent share in business agreements with foreign investors who have to ante up 40 percent of a $10 billion (P520 billion) under the 60-40 constitutional ratio.

“We have to open up because we lack capital. Based on my consultation with some economic businessmen and some businessmen, they would favor to leave the 60-40 restriction,’’ he explained.

“Tapos, ang ownership of public utilities puwede open up na rin natin because after all nanonood tayo ng BBC, etc.

What’s the difference? Wala naman tayo enough capital for telco (telecommunication corporation). Magkano mo initial $10 billion. Sino rito ang single individual o single corporation na probably meron silang werewithal to come up with $10 bilion. Sino willing mag put the whole $10 billion in one business venture. So kailangan talaga natin mag-welcome ng foreign investments,’’ he said.

When he was Senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile had told Senate reporters that he and Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the House of Representatives Speaker then, favored moves to amend the Constitution, particularly the restrictive economic provisions.

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