By Wilnard Bacelonia

BETTER INVESTMENT CLIMATE. Senator Sonny Angara (right) presides over the second hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 on Monday (Feb. 12, 2024). National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, one of the resource persons on proposals to amend economic provisions of the constitution, said allowing foreigners to invest in higher education would result in better quality of learning and a competitive workforce later on. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – Easing foreign ownership restrictions enshrined in the constitution will lead to more foreign direct investments (FDIs) coming in the country, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Monday.

During the Senate’s second hearing on the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 (RBH 6), Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said allowing foreign investments would result in better quality of education and would later produce a competitive workforce.

Edillon pointed out that foreign investors decide to invest in a country based on three categories: market, resources, and efficiency, which Philippines would likely fall into.

“Because we are not really a big market. Minerals, we’re kind of still iffy on that but the efficiency seeking is really the kind of FDI that we want,” Edillon explained.

“But this one really means that you know, we have a very productive and competitive workforce and what is being cited as a determinant to this is really the quality of the education. And this is again another aspect in the constitution, with respect to restrictiveness, that we would like to have more discussions about because we think that this is something that should really be addressed,” she added.

Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Edillon noted that Philippines has the highest restrictions on FDIs to higher education, allowing only 40 percent foreign ownership.

“We see that many of our neighbors actually have lifted the foreign equity restrictions: Malaysia, 100 percent, Vietnam 100 percent, Thailand 50 percent, Indonesia 49 percent and Singapore 100 percent,” she said.

One of the three proposed amendments to the economic provisions stated in the RBH 6 is to ease the foreign ownership restrictions in higher education.

Senator Sonny Angara, who chairs the subcommittee discussing RBH 6, earlier said that they will allot a session to discuss giving Filipinos options to acquire joint degrees by allowing prestigious foreig