On 12 May 2011, 9:00am to 5:00pm, the Seminar on Legal Barriers to Investments was held at the Andaya Hall, House of Representatives in Quezon City. The seminar was organized by the Office of the House Speaker, the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department and Action for Economic Reforms.

The seminar was conducted to present the results of AER’s study of “Making the Philippines Investment Friendly for Growth and Employment”. The objective of the seminar was to share the binding constraints on investments and the policy recommendations identified in the study which will serve as policy inputs for Congress’ legislations related to investments.

The seminar was attended by a total of 88 participants from the Senate, House of Representatives, the National Economic Protectionism Association, representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the USAID-supported project in the Philippines, the Local Implementation of National Competitiveness for Economic Growth, as well as members of AER’s working team for the project. These include Congressman Roger G. Mercado, Representative of the Lone District of Southern Leyte and Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation, Congressman Albert Raymond “Abet” Garcia, Representative of the 2nd District of Bataan and Chairperson of the Committee on Trade and Industry, Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) Acting Director General Romulo Emmanuel Miral, Jr., and Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO) Executive Director Merwin Salazar, among others.

The seminar was facilitated by Ms. Jessica Reyes-Cantos, chief-of-staff of Congressman Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III and President of AER. Cong. Garcia delivered the welcome remarks on behalf of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

The seminar was divided into three sessions. The first session was an Overview of the Binding Legal Contraints on Investments with Dean Raul Pangalangan, professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, trustee of AER serving as resource persons. Session 2 was on Regulatory Reforms to Attract Foreign Direct Investment in the Ports and Shipping Sectors, which was discussed by Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba, Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. The third session was led by Professor Solomon Lumba, also from the University of the Philippines College of Law, with his presentation entitled Staring at Medusa’s Face: The Grandfather Rule in Foreign Participation in Nationalized Activities. In the last session, Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez, professor at the University of the Philippines Asian Center talked on the topic of  Economic Nationalism and Economic Liberalism.

An open forum followed the discussions, and Dr. Romulo Miral, Director of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department, delivered the Closing Remarks.