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  WHY DO WE NEED TO AMEND ARTICLE 12 IN OUR CONSTITUTION? The 1987 Philippine Constitution contains provisions designed to favor Philippine nationals by limiting the participation of foreign investors in key economic activities such as the: (1) Exploitation, development and utilization of natural resources (such as minerals, forests, lakes and rivers); (2) Operation of public utilities (like electricity, water, transportation and communication); (3) Ownership of educational institutions (like colleges and universities); and (4) Ownership and management of mass media (such as newspapers, radio, and television); and advertising Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an important component of the growth and industrialization strategies of many developing countries because FDI contributes to the further expansion of the economy, spurring  job creation, capital accumulation, improved competition, technological catch-up, and higher consumer welfare  (due to better goods and services) in the process. Nevertheless, some argue for limiting foreign ownership in key sectors, owing to the potential harm to the domestic economy (e.g., displacement of local firms), as well as non-economic reasons like economic nationalism (UNCTAD, 2006). While no cost-benefit analysis of economic openness — particularly on FDI — has been done, the bulk of the empirical evidence and policy experience (notably in Asia) points in favor of utilizing FDI as one of the engines of economic growth and development. This is why the vast majority of professional economists argue that the Philippines would stand to gain from policies that encourage the inflow of foreign investments into the country. As envisioned by Former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the possible amendment to the Philippine Constitution would add the phrase "as may be provided by law" to its following provisions: (1) Section 2, Art. XII on exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources,  (2) Section 3, Art. XII on alienable lands on the public domain, (3) Section 7, Art. XII on conveyance on private lands, (4) Section 10, Art. XII on reserved investments, (5) Section 11, Art. XII on grant of franchises, certificates, or any other forms of authorization for the operation of public utility, (6) Section 4 (2), Art. XIV on ownership of educational institutions, and (7) Section 11 (1 and 2), Art. XVI on ownership and management of mass media and on the policy for engagement in the advertising industry. Therefore,the Goal Of This Amendment Is Merely To Introduce The Possibility Of “Enabling Laws” Whereby Future Congresses Could Begin To Open Up Key Aspects Of The Economy To Foreign Investors. Proponents Of This “Economic Cha - Cha” Argue That The Timing Is Right To Open Up This Possibility --Even If Politically, They Do Not Yet Wish To Commence The Discussions On Enabling Laws. The Latter, They Argue, Would Eventually Allow The Country To Capitalize On The Tide Of Increased Investor Confidence In The Economy, Boosting Its Chances Of Sustaining The Recent Impressive Economic Performance. Others Also Argue That Relaxing Economic Restrictions Could Make Up For The Country’s Other Constraints, Including The Lack Of Infrastructure, Energy Deficits In Some Parts Of The Country, And Other Challenges Impeding Foreign Investment. Briefly Summarizes Some Of The Views For And Against Economic Cha- Cha, Based On A Selection Of The Country’s Leading Thinkers.  Reference: Economic Charter Change:Examining the Pros and Cons Ronald U. Mendoza &Monica M. Melchor MAY  2015
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