10 September 2012, The Philippine Star
by Iris Gonzales
Prospective investors in the governmentâ€™s public-private partnership (PPP) program for infrastructure are asking the Aquino administration to relax the restrictions on foreign ownership for some projects, a ranking official told The STAR.
PPP Center Cosette Canilao said her office has recommended the economic ownership clause in the Constitution to be included in the ongoing review by the governmentâ€™s economic managers.
â€śFrom the PPP Center, thatâ€™s one of the provisions we cited. We do not find that a bit restrictive, so we are still in the process of reviewing the foreign restrictions on foreign ownership in a public utility franchise,â€ť Canilao said in an interview.
President Benigno Aquino III has instructed the governmentâ€™s economic team to review the economic provisions of the Constitution.
The economic cluster has yet to announce the results of the review.
Last month, Finance Secretary and economic team head Cesar Purisima said they would be consulting with the private sector and multilateral agencies on the implications of changing the economic provisions of the Constitution.
He said some foreign and local businessmen have been lobbying for relaxing the foreign ownership limit in the Constitution.
â€śThose are the things that we are looking at to attract more investors,â€ť Canilao said.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte have been pushing to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution, particularly the 40 percent limit on foreign ownership of corporations in the Philippines.
Both leaders met with President Aquino last month to convince him to support Charter change. Enrile and Belmonte also stressed that amendments would be limited to economic provisions.
President Aquino has said that he was not keen on changing the 1987 Constitution, crafted during the time of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino III.