Philippines Is Left Behind In ASEAN Thanks To The 1987 Constitution's Economic Protectionism
Yes, the Philippines is now the host country of the ASEAN but it doesn't mean there's no wake-up call. It's more than time to face the fact that the Philippines is left behind by most of its ASEAN neighbors and that needs to be addressed. So why is the Philippines so left behind thanks to the 1987 Constitution? I hope that Leni Loud Robredo would get a rude awakening especially now she's been downplayed to new levels of low.
I would talk about one of the three points of CoRRECT Philippines' agenda namely economic liberalization. Some may have even said that Singapore only accepted foreign investors when it became first world. Hold up! This claim is really ridiculous because self-industrialization is 100% impossible. How could Singapore progress if it didn't keep getting revenues from taxes? Where would they get extra revenue? From the Singaporeans who were poor and unemployed? No. They got extra taxes through foreign investors who were registered and under the umbrella of Singaporean law. More Singaporeans got employment opportunities through foreign investments. It was through foreign investments that got more revenue for the country hence leading it to becoming a first world country.
The problem of economic protectionism is that it's built on a crybaby culture. There are many excuses that some Filipinos make to justify its stupidity. The three biggest lies that are spread would be that foreign investors are foreign invaders, that only foreigners will get rich if the Philippines will allow foreign investors and that protectionism is meant to help small and medium scale enterprises grow. How true are these claims? It's been 30 years since the 1987 Constitution and guess what - the Philippines is still very much left behind while countries that used to be poorer than it are now skyrocketing away from poverty.
Are foreign investors really foreign invaders? If they know the law of free trade it's the rule merchants bow down before a foreign king. How many times do they need to be told that OFWs bow down before foreign rulers and foreign investors bow before foreign rules? Foreign investors are bound to the country's laws and they can risk deportation if they fail to follow them. They should take a look at first world countries. True there are many foreign investors in China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia to name a few but they still have their sovereignty intact. Those foreign investors in those countries are all under their governments. They are expected to behave if they want to continue doing business in those countries.
Only foreigners will get rich? This is another paranoia claim. Okay, foreigners will get rich if they invest in the Philippines legally but guess what - they must pay income taxes in the Philippines as part of the agreement. Again, let's go back to the first world countries and the fact that they have foreign investors abounding. Where did the first world countries get extra revenues or taxes? It's not just from their citizens but also from the foreign investors. Relying on the taxes of Filipino taxpayers alone wouldn't help boost the Philippines. It's like waiting for a sudden windfall of money all the while the source is too unreliable. Having both Filipinos and foreigners paying taxes to the Philippine treasury would help the Philippines gain more money.
Do you want the Philippines to remain in the dumps forever? If the answer is no then it's time to stop having a wrong view on economic liberalization. Expecting the Philippines to grow while maintaining economic protectionism is like running a race while being bound by heavy chains and the rest of the contestants aren't. It's time to dump the protectionist policy forever for a better Philippines.