By Filane Mikee Cervantes and Zaldy De Layola

File photo

MANILA – Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Wednesday attributed the lower unemployment rate recorded in November to the Marcos administration’s sound economic policies.

“President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his economic team, and their allies in Congress, principally the House of Representatives, are on the right track. The newest data indicated that the economy has created more than 200,000 jobs,” Barbers said in a statement.

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Tuesday reported that the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in November from 4.2 percent in October, or to 1.83 million Filipinos from 2.09 million.

Barbers, chairperson of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said investments are the principal driver for creating new job and income opportunities for the people.

He said the drop in unemployment gives more impetus to the House initiative to relax the “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution “so the country can attract more foreign investments.”

“More foreign investments will mean more jobs, more economic activities and more income for our people,” he said.

He noted that the Charter’s economic provisions restrict foreign capital inflow “because they contain a cap on foreign ownership and investment that cannot be lifted or amended by any law.”

He said this is the reason why constitutional amendments, focused on the economic provisions, are urgently needed.

Heed business sector’s call

Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. on Wednesday urged senators to heed the business community’s call to amend the restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution to create more job and income opportunities for Filipinos.

He said various groups representing the business community, the latest of which is the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), support easing constitutional restrictions to attract more foreign investments.

He said attracting more foreign investors is the goal of the House of Representatives in pushing for amending the economic provisions of the Constitution, which restrict the flow of foreign capital into the country.

Gonzales noted that more jobs were created due to the ramping up of investments, which countered unemployment, as made evident in the PSA’s report that the number of jobless Filipinos fell to 1.83 million in November.

“This means that there were an additional 260,000 of our labor force who got themselves employed in jobs created in the economy through investments. We could create more job and income opportunities for our people if we could attract more investments, especially funds from foreign investors,” Gonzales said.

“So we are urging the Senate, which has consistently resisted any form of Charter change, to heed the clamor of the business sector. We can accelerate capital formation and hasten our economic growth for the benefit of our people if we can introduce constitutional reform,” Gonzales added.

Meanwhile, Senator Robin Padilla said he will support amending the 1987 Constitution through a people’s initiative provided that this is truly the voice of the people.

“People’s initiative: the voice of the people is the voice of God. We must discuss people’s initiative thoroughly. Such a power of the people should not be twisted by some politicians to suit their ambitions,” Padilla said in a news release on Wednesday.

Padilla, chairperson of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, said it is high time to take another look whether to amend the 1987 Constitution. (with a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)