Filipino business groups cool to House’s cha cha dance. Here’s why

The country’s biggest business groups pushed back against the proposal of the House of Representatives for charter change following the passage of laws that eased the entry of foreign investments.

Six groups led by the Makati Business Club said they don’t see the urgency of changing the 1987 Constitution via con-con, a move persistently sought by the business sector in the quest for additional investments in the past.

They also expressed reservations about the House’s proposal to hold a constituent convention, saying it would be too costly.

“We have long supported proposals to amend economic provisions of the constitution that impede trade, investment, innovation, competition, and economic and job growth,” the groups said in a statement.

“However, recently enacted laws and regulations like amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investment Act, the passage of the Rice Trade Liberalization Act and the Department of Energy circular allowing 100% foreign ownership in the renewable energy sector have addressed many of these impediments.”

The business executives said they would rather that lawmakers devote their time and resources to other important bills, namely the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act and succeeding tax reform measures.

Other signatories were the Filipina CEO Circle, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), Justice Reform Initiative, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, Inc., and the Women Business Council Philippines.

Bolstering the groups’ opposition against holding a convention, they noted that no less than the National Economic and Development Authority estimated a P14-billion price tag for the endeavor.

“We believe these funds can be better used on agriculture to address the high inflation, transportation to enable Filipinos to get to work and home in much less time, and needed social services like health, education, and social security,” the groups said.

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