MANILA, Philippines – National scientist and economist Dr. Raul Fabella said Monday he is in favor of lifting constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, believing it could attract more local and foreign investors to the Philippines.
Fabella made his comment during the Senate hearing on Both Chambers Resolution No. 6 – a measure containing proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
“I am in favor of lifting constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership and, of course, I prefer a process of changing the Charter as quickly as possible,” said Fabella.
The economist said he believes that the progress of most nations comes down to investment.
Citing an example, he said that “countries that invest less overtime eat the dust of countries that invest more.
“The Philippines' investment rate is traditionally lowest among major ASEAN countries. For example, in 2022, our investment rate was 22.4% of Gross Domestic Product. Vietnam had 33, Thailand had 27.9 and Indonesia had 29 percent,” he explained.
According to Fabella, there are many reasons why the Philippines' investment rate is abysmal.
“We have closed many economic sectors to local and foreign investment. Agriculture was permanently closed to large private investors due to confusion over property rights. Mining and forestry were occasionally banned for huge private and foreign investment,” he said.
But while he is in favor of lifting the Constitution's “restrictive rules”, Fabella admitted that this will not immediately reverse the country's declining rate of investment, highlighting the need for better rule of law, lower energy costs and better infrastructure .
“I agree with the proposal to repeal section 11 of article 12 and, in fact, if you insist, all other political instruments disguised as basic values in the 1987 Constitution”, he concluded.