Izza Belle Basubas
House Speaker, Martin Romualdez in a speech at the Malacanan Palace on Economic Growth reforms. Photo courtesy of the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
House Speaker Martin Romualdez said on Friday evening, February 10, 2023, that amending the economic provision of the 1987 constitution is the final piece of the puzzle to ensure the country’s growth.
Romualdez says the government is trying to position itself to recover from economic downfall after the pandemic by using the investment brought in by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. during his multiple foreign trips.
The Philippines suffered from an economic recession, as the GDP shrank by 9.5% in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Issues of alleged restrictive economic provisions also come up in every foreign discussion with the President.
In the interview, Romualdez says "We are identifying the Constitution now as the last piece of the puzzle. We believe that once we open it and once we revisit the economic provisions to make it less restrictive but more open or at least competitive to other constitutions, then I think we will get the final success that we have been looking for."
He adds that the Philippines is stepping up from the developing country tier to the second world. Romualdez highlights that "we just have to be very competitive, and I always get that sense every time I go out on these trips, I get the sense that this is something holding us back."
The House of Representatives conducts a consultative meeting and congressional hearings with the people to gauge if the country is prepared for the sudden change of the Constitution.
House Speaker Romualdez believes citizens will benefit if the Philippine economy is widely open, attracting more foreign investment that can boost the economy.
As the strong push to amend the 36-year-old Constitution, several legal luminaries, including Neri Colmenares, who is the former lawmaker of Bayan Muna, argue that the neighboring countries of the Philippines, like Taiwan and Singapore, both developed countries, did not use direct foreign investment to sustain their economic growth.
However, Romualdez maintains that making the Philippine economy less restrictive would ensure that capital would enter the country.