• In rebuilding, group cites need to remove investment barriers

    The relaxation of foreign ownership limits for public utilities will help facilitate the entry of money from abroad, which may be used to rebuild roads, and communication and power lines that were destroyed by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

    The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) Friday said that the country needed foreign investments now more than ever if it hopes to recover from the strongest storm to ever make landfall.

    “The only sustainable way to bring people out of poverty and desperation is to give them jobs and income—not cash handouts,” FEF said in a statement.

    The best way to achieve this, FEF said, would be to entice foreign investors to set up factories and offices in our country.

    The group, which counts several of the country’s top economists as members, said the country receives just $3 billion in job-creating foreign direct investments (FDI) each year. This is way below the $20 billion seen by Indonesia and the $8 billion of Vietnam.

    The relaxation of foreign ownership limits for public utilities will help facilitate the entry of money from abroad, which may be used to rebuild roads, and communication and power lines that were destroyed by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

    The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) Friday said that the country needed foreign investments now more than ever if it hopes to recover from the strongest storm to ever make landfall.

    “The only sustainable way to bring people out of poverty and desperation is to give them jobs and income—not cash handouts,” FEF said in a statement.

    The best way to achieve this, FEF said, would be to entice foreign investors to set up factories and offices in our country.

    The group, which counts several of the country’s top economists as members, said the country receives just $3 billion in job-creating foreign direct investments (FDI) each year. This is way below the $20 billion seen by Indonesia and the $8 billion of Vietnam. Also, despite its recent economic success, the country suffers from high poverty and unemployment levels.

    The domestic economy grew by 7.6 percent in the first semester of the year, faster than the rest of Southeast Asia. Despite the recent typhoon, the economy still expects to hit its growth target of 6 to 7 percent for 2013.

    “In order to increase FDI, we need to signal that we welcome foreign investments,” FEF said.

    FEF said recent natural disasters—such as the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, and supertyphoon Yolanda—shows the need to upgrade basic infrastructure in the country. The group said the country needs better made roads, bridges, airports and communicationsfacilities.

    “Only massive participation in the building and operation of these facilities and infrastructure can meet these needs,” FEF said.

    Removing restrictions on foreign ownership in specific industries such as telecommunications, water utilities, and media, will require amendments to the 1987 Constitution. President Aquino, whose Liberal Party controls both houses of Congress, has expressed reluctance in overhauling the Constitution.

     

    By Paolo G. Montecillo
    November 16, 2013
    Philippine Daily Inquirer