Ibon Foundation Criticizes RBH 7 for Favoring Foreign Investors

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Africa further highlights the importance of considering the broader context of the country’s openness to foreign investment. He argues that the focus should not solely be on the constitution but also on the various laws that have been enacted since its promulgation in 1987. These laws, such as the Foreign Investment Act and the law amending the Public Service Act, demonstrate the Philippines’ commitment to welcoming foreign investors.
Moreover, Africa challenges the claims made by some lawmakers that the Philippines needs to be more open to foreign investment. He asserts that the country is already an open economic country and even more so compared to its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. He points out that the Philippines is more open in key sectors than countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and even China.
In his argument, Africa emphasizes that the calls for greater openness are based on a narrow way of thinking. He believes that these arguments fail to take into account the current state of the Philippines’ openness to foreign investment. Instead of solely relying on the constitution, Africa suggests evaluating the level of openness by considering all the laws prevailing in the country.
In conclusion, Africa’s concerns about Resolution of Both Houses 7 (RBH 7) stem from his belief that it unjustly favors foreign investors. He argues that the Philippines is already among the most open economies in Southeast Asia and that the focus should not solely be on the constitution but on the broader context of the country’s openness to foreign investment. By considering the various laws enacted since the constitution was promulgated, Africa asserts that the Philippines is already very open and that arguments for greater openness are based on a narrow perspective.

The Issue of Economic Openness and Domestic Capacity Development

Africa highlights that the issue lies not in a lack of economic openness but rather in the underdevelopment of the domestic capacity of economic sectors such as electricity, telecommunications, power, and transportation. He clarifies that countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia have not developed solely due to their openness to foreign investment, as some may misinterpret. Instead, these countries regulate foreign investment to contribute local technologies and develop their domestic capacities. Africa believes that the Philippines should shift its focus from a fetish for foreign investment and instead prioritize developing its domestic capacity. He warns that pursuing an economic policy solely based on foreign investment could lead the country in the wrong direction.

In order to address the issue of underdeveloped domestic capacity, Africa suggests that the Philippines needs to invest in research and development (R&D) to foster innovation and technological advancements within its own industries. By allocating resources towards R&D, the country can encourage the creation of new technologies and enhance the competitiveness of its domestic sectors. This approach would not only reduce the country’s reliance on foreign technologies but also enable it to establish a strong foundation for sustainable economic growth.

Furthermore, Africa emphasizes the importance of nurturing local talent and expertise. He argues that the Philippines should invest in education and vocational training programs to equip its workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive domestic capacity development. By focusing on human capital development, the country can ensure a steady supply of qualified professionals who can contribute to the growth and advancement of key economic sectors.

In addition to investing in R&D and human capital development, Africa suggests that the government should implement supportive policies and regulations to encourage local entrepreneurship and the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By creating a favorable business environment, the Philippines can stimulate domestic entrepreneurship and innovation, which are crucial for building a robust domestic capacity.

Africa also stresses the importance of fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors. He argues that the government should work closely with local businesses and industries to identify areas of potential growth and provide the necessary support and incentives to spur domestic capacity development. This collaborative approach would not only leverage the expertise and resources of both sectors but also ensure that the development efforts align with the needs and aspirations of the local economy.

In conclusion, Africa’s perspective on the issue of economic openness and domestic capacity development highlights the need for the Philippines to shift its focus from a heavy reliance on foreign investment to the development of its own domestic capacity. By investing in R&D, human capital development, and fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, the country can create a sustainable and self-reliant economy that is less susceptible to external shocks. This approach would not only contribute to the long-term growth and prosperity of the Philippines but also empower its people to shape their own economic destiny.

In addition to their concerns about foreign investors, the Liberal Party of the Philippines has also raised other important issues that need to be addressed in order to attract foreign investment. One of the key concerns highlighted by the party is the presence of weak institutions in the country. They argue that without strong and reliable institutions, foreign investors may hesitate to invest their capital in the Philippines.

Furthermore, the Liberal Party points out that under-supported industries pose a significant obstacle to attracting foreign investment. They believe that the government should focus on providing adequate support to industries that have the potential for growth and development. By doing so, they argue, the country can create a more favorable environment for foreign investors.

Another concern raised by the Liberal Party is the issue of expensive electricity. They argue that the high cost of electricity in the Philippines puts a burden on businesses and makes it less attractive for foreign investors. The party suggests that the government should work towards reducing the cost of electricity in order to make the country more competitive in attracting foreign investment.

Slow internet is also identified as a major obstacle by the Liberal Party. They argue that in today’s digital age, fast and reliable internet connectivity is crucial for businesses to thrive. The party believes that improving internet infrastructure and ensuring affordable and high-speed internet access will make the Philippines more appealing to foreign investors.

Lastly, the Liberal Party highlights the issue of rampant corruption in the government as a deterrent to foreign investment. They argue that corruption undermines trust in the government and creates an unfavorable business environment. The party emphasizes the need for strong anti-corruption measures and transparent governance in order to attract foreign investors.

In conclusion, while the Liberal Party of the Philippines expresses concerns about the swift approval of RBH 7 and its potential impact on foreign investors, they also emphasize that addressing other pressing issues such as weak institutions, under-supported industries, expensive electricity, slow internet, and corruption should be prioritized. By tackling these challenges, the party believes that the country can create a more favorable environment for foreign investment and ultimately foster economic growth and development.

Source: The Manila Times

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