MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is in favor of further liberalizing the economy but not necessarily through constitutional amendments, Secretary Ramon Lopez said Friday.
Lopez said it has been DTI’s principle to support moves to open up the economy and lift restrictions that hamper economic growth, including those on foreign ownership.
“Kung magagawa ito sa pamamagitan ng ilang mga batas, not necessarily constitutional amendment, ito po ang nakikita naming mas madali moving forward (If this could be done by passing some bills, not necessarily constitutional amendment, this is what we see as the easier way to move forward),” he said during a Laging Handa public briefing.
Lopez said the department has nothing against Charter change, particularly if it focuses only on economic provisions, but other issues, especially political, have surfaced.
“Dahil ‘pag pinag-usapan ang Charter Change, marami pang pangamba at issue na lumalabas, tulad ng nakikita natin ngayon (Because when Charter change is discussed, many concerns and issues arise, like what we are seeing now),” he said.
Lopez added that given the limited time before the start of the campaign and election period, lawmakers lack time to amend the Constitution.
Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business group, said discussing Charter change amid the pandemic is untimely.
Instead of pushing for a constitutional amendment, it said, lawmakers should pass pending bills that would also lift certain economic restrictions in the country.
The group was referring to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act, and the Public Service Act, among others. (PNA)