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A sub-committee of President Duterte’s Consultative Committee (con-com) to review the 1987 Constitution is eyeing provisions that will create a balanced economic liberalization to improve the inflow of foreign investments while enhancing the growth of domestic enterprises to make them more competitive.
Con-com sub-committee on economic revisions chairman Arthur Aguilar said liberalization needs to be balanced with the need to increase competitiveness while protecting domestic interests.
He stressed that during their last meeting, the members of the sub-committee agreed that liberalization must be viewed from a holistic perspective that considers several factors that affect the inflow of foreign investments.
These factors include ease of doing business, ownership restrictions, peace and order, infrastructure, tax and other incentives, governance, graft and corruption, labor cost and energy cost, among others.
Although the measures are yet to be finalized, Aguilar said the panel agreed that liberalization has to be measured on the basis of what is best for the people in general and should ensure that Filipino enterprises, particularly small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) don’t get wiped out.

“Small and medium scale businesses, have to have some element of protection otherwise they’d get wiped out,” Aguilar told reporters in an interview.
“When we liberalize that, we were conscious of trying to balance liberalization on one side and the national interest to make sure that it is for the welfare of the people and to balance it out for some sectoral interests of our economy,” he added.
The panel also tacked foreign ownership of land classified into three: Agriculture, industrial-commercial, and residential.
Since nothing is final yet, Aguilar was hopeful that these principles will eventually find their way into constitutional language in some provision.
Aguilar, meanwhile, expressed the importance of economic reforms in the proposed federal form of government.
“You have to have economic reforms if you federalize because you’re now sharing [power and resources]. As you know in federalization, you have exclusive federal powers, you have exclusive regional powers and you have shared powers. In our proposal here, on economic policies, the federal government will just set general standards,” Aguilar said.
Once these policies are made at federal level, everything else will be done in the regional level.
“That’s what federalization is all about, the regions can compete for investors and then the best practices will surface and everyone will rise to a higher level,” he added.
In December 2016, Mr. Duterte formed the committee through an executive order to “study, conduct consultations, and review” the provisions of the 30-year-old Constitution, in line with the government’s plan to shift to a federal form of government.
He later appointed its 19 members, who are legal luminaries and mostly federalism advocates.
Appointed as chair of the committee was former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
The members of the committee are former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Victor de la Serna, Ranhilio Aquino, Virgilio Bautista, Rodolfo Robles, Antonio Nachura, Julio Teehankee, Bienvenido Reyes, Eddie Alih and Edmund Tayao.
Also appointed as members were Ali Pangalian Balindong, Laurence Wacnang, Roan Libarios, Reuben Canoy, Arthur Aguilar, Susan Ubalde-Ordinario, Antonio Arellano and Randolph Parcasio. 

Marines chief backs move to form new military branch

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

While it expressed support for the proposed law seeking to institutionalize its branch as an independent armed uniformed service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) will remain a compact and hard-hitting force, its head, Major Gen. Alvin Parreño, has assured.
Parreño made the remark Friday when pressed on whether they are planning to increase the number of their personnel once the proposal to separate them from the Navy goes into fruition.
This, after House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas filed a bill seeking to institutionalize the PMC as a distinct and autonomous arm of the military.
“We do not intend to be a big unit like the Army, and we don’t intend to compete for resources from any other branch of service,” Parreño said.
The PMC is composed of about 8,000 officers and enlisted personnel spread around three maneuver brigades apart from combat support and headquarters units.
While strongly supportive of calls to make the Marines an independent military arm, Parreño said there will be a transition period.
“There will be transition and we are still preparing for it. The British Royal Marines remains at 8,000, even though they are a separate service,” he added.
Instead of expanding their size, the PMC chief said they would rather fill up their battalions, which are not to full strength. 

Amid the public clamor for him to run for the Senate, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has expressed his heartfelt gratitude to President Duterte and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, calling them his “inspirations” in public service.
“Nakakataba ng puso iyong pag-endorse ni Mayor Sara kasi si Mayor Sara at saka si Mayor Rody ang aking inspirasyon sa pagiging public servant (The endorsement of Mayor Sarah warms my heart because its Mayor Sarah and Mayor Rody who both inspired me as a public servant),” Go said in a radio interview on Friday.
Go said that he has worked with the Chief Executive for at least 20 years so he knew that his public service was “true.”
Earlier this week, Duterte-Carpio has thrown her full support to Go if he decides to join the senatorial race especially that he contributed a lot of things to her father, President Duterte.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said even the President himself said he would support Go “to the hilt.”
While he feels “humbled,” Go said he is still focused on his work as Duterte’s top aide.
“Ito lang po ang masasabi ko, hindi ko pababayaan si Pangulong Duterte. Nandidiyan po ako sa tabi niya (This is all I can say, I won’t leave President Duterte. I’ll be by his side),” Go said.
“Marami pong bagay na tungkulin ko sa kaniya – personal at iba pa na dapat kong gampanan – at hindi ko iiwanan. At pangako ko kay Pangulong Duterte na hanggang kamatayan kaming magsasama (I still have a lot of responsibilities to accomplish. And I won’t leave him),” he added.
If there was anything he learned from Duterte, Go said it was always about staying true as a “humble servant.”
“Ito lang po, ang masasabi ko lang maging humble servant ka…Huwag kang magbago, maging humble servant ka lang kasi hindi naman habang panahon nasa taas ka, nasa baba ka (This is all I can say, be a humble servant. Don’t change, stay humble because you won’t always be on top, sometimes you’ll be at the bottom),” Go said. 


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