Workers slam SC ruling relaxing foreign ownership

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LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed today a new Supreme Court clarification relaxing the definition of foreign ownership of companies in relation to a provision of the 1987 Constitution, saying the SC controlled by Pres. Noynoy Aquino is selling the Philippines to big foreign capitalists and is betraying the people.

Section 11 of Article XII on “National Economy and Patrimony,” which states that the government can grant authorization only to businesses that are 60 per cent owned by Filipinos, has been targeted for amendment by previous presidents who pushed for Charter Change.

In an entry of judgment dated Jan. 9, 2013, the High Court ordered the Security and Exchange Commission to change the definition of “capital” in the said provision from the total outstanding capital to mere shares of stock entitled to vote in elections of directors or to common shares.

This means that only corporations’ common stocks will be subjected to computations of 60 per cent Filipino ownership and 40 per cent foreign ownership, excluding preferred stocks, even if owners of the latter, while non-voting, can still exert considerable influence over a corporation.

“While he is still preparing to go all-out in pushing for Cha-cha, Aquino is already ensuring that the interests of big foreign capitalists are advanced. He is using his paid dogs in the Supreme Court to water down Constitutional provisions that limit foreign ownership in the country,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The SC ruling will further make us Filipinos squatters in our own country. It will worsen inequality between the few foreigners and elites who own a lot in the country and the majority of Filipinos who almost nothing,” he added.

“Aquino has already surpassed previous presidents when it comes to puppetry to the US and other powerful countries. He simply has no love of country and concern for fellow Filipinos,” he said.

The labor center said increasing foreign ownership in the country will not mean an improvement in the lives of ordinary workers and people.

“That’s what all previous presidents have been trying to do, attract big foreign capitalists to own more and more in the country. What we are seeing as a result is intensifying unemployment, hunger, poverty and indebtedness among ordinary workers and people,” Labog said.

“We are calling on all freedom-loving Filipinos, including those who have been fighting Cha-Cha, to fight until this SC ruling is junked. It is only through our protests that we can stop Aquino’s mad rush to sell the country to big foreign capitalists,” he added.

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