Dominguez: Ban on foreign ownership of land should remain

Dominguez: Ban on foreign ownership of land should remain

MANILA, Philippines — While Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III backed the removal of the “restrictive” economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution, he also expressed that the ban on foreign ownership of land in the country should remain.

During the hearing of the House committee on constitutional amendments, Dominguez said the removal of the restrictive economic provisions in the country’s charter would be a “significant factor” in revving up the Philippine economy and sustaining its recovery.

However, Dominguez said that foreign ownership of land in the country should be excluded from discussions on amending the charter.

“The ban on foreign ownership of land, however, should remain since this evokes strong emotional reactions. The rest of the investment liberalization strategies should accomplish enough to enable our rapid economic recovery,” Dominguez said.

Nonetheless, Dominguez backed moves to ease economic restrictions in other sectors.

“The Constitution bans foreign professionals from practicing in the country. This is the prime, our people have the opportunity to absorb and learn new ideas and standards,” Dominguez said.

“This has barred us from receiving the best professional services and availing of cutting edge technologies. It will benefit our people if we allow foreign professionals to practice their professions here,” he added.

For instance, Dominguez said the limitation of ownership of educational institutions to Filipinos is “surely obsolete”, saying that these limitations have resulted in the closure of many private institutions due to lack of capital to sustain operations.

“Over the past year we saw the closure of many private schools, given the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, which will create a shortage in educational services that can only be magnified by restrictive investment provisions,” Dominguez said.

Meanwhile, Dominguez said the prohibitionist foreign ownership in the mass media and advertising “is most anachronistic.”

“All the prohibition accomplishes is to prevent our own media and advertising companies from building international networks that will enhance their viability,” Dominguez said.

Under Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would be added to the constitutional restrictions that limit the in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital.

The same phrase would likewise be added to provisions saying only Filipino citizens can control, own, and/or lease alienable lands, public utilities, educational institutions, mass media companies, and advertising companies in the country.