Renewed Cha-cha moves to favor foreign mining companies – solon

PARTYLIST Rep. Teddy Casiño today said that the renewed moves for Charter Change to water down provisions on land ownership and foreign investments is sure to favour foreign mining firms to the detriment of mining communities and local players.

“While Executive Order 79 provides mere band aid solutions to the problems of the mining industry, Cha-cha will aggravate and worsen it by allowing foreigners to further exploit mineral resources that is supposed to be reserved for Filipinos and used for our own industries,” the progressive solon said.

“The economic premise of those proposing to take out constitutional restrictions on ownership and investment is proposals and unsupported by any real research. In fact, many of the economic miracles they cite are countries that also have restrictive or protectionist provisions,” he said.

He stressed that proposal to give aliens 100% ownership to land, public utilities, and natural resources is a recipe for disaster given the festering problem of landlessness In the Philippines.

“Even the supposed economically booming countries do not allow the same extent of liberalization. Thailand requires 51% Thai ownership of its public utilities such as electricity and energy; Australia requires 65% Australian ownership of its telecommunication; Brazil requires 49% Brazilian ownership of its lands,” he said.

“In fact aliens are totally prohibited from owning land in China. Meanwhile, Nepal, Mongolia and Cambodia which allow unrestricted foreign ownership remain poor,” he stressed.

“Also the proposed opening of the country to foreigners raises serious security issues.  Will China be allowed to maintain beach heads in Palawan and Batangas if it buys coastal lands in these provinces? Will China be allowed to buy Meralco and other public utilities and hold us hostage if the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal issue is not resolved?” the lawmaker asked.

Casiño said Congress should not be distracted by “unecessary issues that are not urgent like Cha-cha and instead focus on passing measures that would improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos, like measures to reduce the cost of electricity and other utilities as well as measures to support small and medium enterprise.”

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