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IQF: Is the Constitution the roadblock?

Proponents of Charter change (or Cha-cha) blame the Constitution for the Philippines’ being a development laggard. They say that it failed to bring about the change expected after the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986. The Constitution, they also claim, has become an obstacle to the development of our education, agriculture, and the economy because it prohibits foreign investors from owning land.

Initially, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. said that Cha-cha was not his priority. “It’s not a priority for me because there are many other things that need to be done… there are so many other things that we need to do first,” he said in February 2023. But things seem to have changed. In January 2024, he said he is open to amending our Constitution because it is no longer suitable for a “globalized world.” He added, “we have to adjust so that we can increase the economic activities in the Philippines and we can attract more foreign investors.”

But is the Constitution what discourages foreigners from investing in our country? Is this really the problem that needs to be solved and changed? This issue of Intersect Quick Facts (IQF) will lay out some of what investors are looking for in a country that will host their investments, according to esteemed economists such as Prof. Cielo Magno, former undersecretary of the Department of Finance (DOF), and Prof. Solita Monsod, former director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Spoiler alert: land ownership is not what foreign investors need.

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