MANILA, Philippines – Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, despite their respective political upheavals, will overtake the Philippines in terms of economic progress if Filipinos continue to resist opening up the economy to attract more foreign direct investment ( IDE), according to Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.

“Vietnam started to overtake us in the FDI to GDP ratio in 1990, just three years after Doi Moi (reforms) and the 1987 Constitution,” said Salceda, an economist, in his speech titled “The Philippines and Vietnam : a story of two countries. “

The ravages of the Vietnam War which lasted 21 years and ended in 1975 did not prevent Hanoi from becoming one of the most progressive economies in Southeast Asia, even surpassing the Philippines in income. per capita as well as in foreign direct investment or FDI, he told Congress. .

Salceda, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, made the realistic speech as the chamber, under the leadership of President Lord Allan Velasco, deliberates on the Two House Resolution (RBH) 2 that will change the provisions very prohibitive economic aspects of the Constitution.

“Vietnam has been so successful in attracting FDI through its market opening that over the next decade, starting this year, the average Vietnamese will now be richer than the average Filipino,” said Salceda.

“(The) Vietnamese passed us, and soon the Cambodians and Burmese (Myanmar) will pass us as well, because we tied our hands behind our backs… We shouldn’t have tied our hands behind our backs. to attract IDE, ”he added.

The Philippines’ underdevelopment in the midst of an era of globalization is “self-inflicted,” according to Salceda, as he argued for the need to open up the economy.

“It’s time to stop hurting ourselves and start moving forward,” he said.

“The only problem is that we haven’t opened up enough, while Vietnam has opened up its economy much more significantly. Because they opened more doors, they had more opportunities, ”he added.

Bicolano’s lawmaker stressed that the country’s rigid economic policies only made oligopolies thrive – all under the guise of nationalism.

While the constitution of the post-Marcos country ensured that dictatorships will never see the light of day again, its very rigid protectionist economic policies have unfortunately only resulted in the prosperity of oligopolies in virtually all local industries, a he declared.

The House’s senior resident economist defended Velasco’s initiative to write RBH 2 which will change the restrictive provisions of the Philippine Basic Law.

“In other words, we opened the fewest doors, so we were visited by the fewest opportunities. Why go to great lengths, after all, if you don’t have foreign competition? Salceda said, noting that Manila lags behind its Asian neighbors in terms of FDI.

He also pointed out that “the dictatorship is not unique to the region”, but the problem is that it was only the Philippines that “decided that a way to prevent the same abuses was to keep power in the hands of a few oligopolistic, instead of allowing the world to give us the best.

“It doesn’t make sense now. The ripe thing to do for a country like ours with global ambitions is to grow, to recognize our error in judgment and to correct our error. It’s never too late to do the right thing, ”he said.

Another sponsor of the bill, deputy parliamentary minority leader and representative of Marikina, Stella Luz Quimbo, also addressed the fact that the country was overtaken in 2019 by most of its peers in Asia, among which Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore lead the world in terms of FDI in many industries.

“After suffering such losses (the economy shrinking by 9.5%, among others), we cannot afford to waste any more time,” said Quimbo, another resident economist.

“The Philippines has the most restrictive economy in ASEAN when it comes to FDI. In fact, the Philippines ranked fourth out of 87 countries in the world, ”she added, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which the Philippines is a member.

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