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NEDA Calls for Constitutional Amendments to Boost Foreign Investments and Achieve Development Goals

MANILA - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has emphasized the critical need for updating the economic provisions of the Constitution to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) and support the achievement of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 targets aimed at inclusive growth.

According to Philippines News Agency, during the Committee of the Whole deliberations on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, a significant increase in investments in physical and social infrastructure, as well as in human capital, is necessary to attain the PDP goals. These goals include rapid and inclusive economic growth, creation of high-quality and better-paying jobs, and a reduction in the poverty rate to single digits by 2028.

Balisacan highlighted that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has directed an update of the Constitution to address current challenges and prepare for future uncertainties. He stressed the importance of lifting restrictions on critical sectors such as public utilities, education, mass media, and advertising to unlock their potential and enhance the country's economic progress. According to Balisacan, the existing restrictive economic provisions have led to lower levels of FDI flows into the Philippines, causing the country to fall behind its neighbors in attracting foreign investments and economic development.

The Secretary pointed out that the Philippines has missed numerous opportunities to attract FDI, technological expertise, and managerial talent essential for improving the nation's productivity and global competitiveness. By opening up sectors like public utilities to foreign investment, Balisacan believes it will not only improve the quality and affordability of services such as energy and water distribution but also address financing gaps in the infrastructure sector. Furthermore, he argued that allowing more foreign investment in education would enable Filipinos to access global knowledge and skills, fostering a culture of innovation and positioning the Philippines as a competitive knowledge hub in the region.

Support for the economic amendments was also voiced by representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), who highlighted the potential for increased foreign direct investment, international education, globally competitive mass media, international advertising, and modern utilities. These changes are expected to expand the economy, create jobs, and nurture a culture of innovation among Filipino students, teachers, and researchers. The Department of Finance (DOF), while supporting the opening up of certain sectors to foreign ownership, opposed foreign ownership of land, underscoring the selective approach to amending the economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

In conclusion, NEDA and other government agencies are advocating for amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution as a complementary strategy to unlock the country's economic potential and accelerate the achievement of inclusive growth and development goals.