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Arroyo party seeks reforms to economic terms in Constitution

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:56:00 09/19/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s party is pushing for amendments to economic provisions in the Constitution to increase the country’s competitiveness as an investment site amid the meltdown in the United States economy, the top party official said Friday.

Only after economic provisions are revised can the amendments shift to political matters in the Charter, said Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, president of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Partner of the Free Filipino, Kampi).

“We are in a global economic and financial crisis. Our country is itself suffering. We are looking for investments at a time when people all over the world are confused about where to put their investments. What better time to clarify or national policies towards investors?” Puno told reporters at the Palace.

“Why would you invest in a country that forces you to be a minority in the corporation that you organize? Why will you invest in a country where you are not allowed to own or even have a long-term lease hold on property?” Puno said, referring to restrictions against foreign ownership in the 1987 Constitution.

Jumping the gun on possible criticism of the Kampi party’s push for constitutional amendments, Puno said: “Let’s not kill our economic potential by being paranoid with each other about all of these constitutional provisions.”

Puno noted how efforts to amend the Charter came under criticism during the last three administrations.

He said the proposed economic amendments include those that were proposed during the administration of former president Joseph Estrada.

Puno also rejected the claim of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri that Kampi members in the House of Representatives could take advantage of the squabble between the minority and majority blocs in the Senate to railroad constitutional change efforts.

“How can you do anything [when] the Speaker is [from] Lakas?” Puno said, referring to Prospero Nograles, president of the ruling Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats party, which is in a coalition with Kampi.

“Kampi is not in a position to railroad anything. First of all it’s a minority in Congress, second the leadership, Speaker, majority leader — they’re all [from] Lakas, so it has to be an administration coalition move,” Puno said.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-09-19T07:41:08+00:00UTC09bUTCFri, 19 Sep 2008 07:41:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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