If businessmen had it their way, they would allow foreigners to own businesses in a wider range of sectors to get more money into the Philippines.
This, as 13 of the biggest business groups in the country asked President Benigno Aquino III to loosen restrictions on foreign equity.
“We strongly urge your administration to consider amending the economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution, which restrict greater private sector participation,” the letter read.
Among the groups that sent the letter were the Joint Foreign Chambers, the Makati Business Club and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Constitution allows lawmakers to reserve certain areas of investment to businesses 60 percent owned by Filipinos.
Aside from lifting foreign ownership limits, the government has also been urged to expedite infrastructure projects and address power concerns.
“Strategic transportation infrastructure projects must be accelerated and implemented at the soonest possible time,” the groups said.
These include projects under the public-private partnership scheme, especially transport projects such as major highways and airports.
Lower power cost and increased capacity is also expected to attract investors to the country, the groups noted.
To achieve these, the government has been urged to create a “favorable investment climate” for potential energy investors.
Meanwhile, in order to ensure job creation and improve competitiveness, incentives to investors should also streamlined, business groups said.
Also highlighted were the need for mining reforms, a Customs bureau revamp, as well as anti-trust and competition policies.
Business groups also pushed the government to “institute reforms that would address issues of competence and efficiency in the justice system.”
“Through these measures, the business community is of firm conviction that the Philippines will continue to be among Asia’s fast rising economies,” the groups said.
The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …