President Duterte Signed A Law That Allows Full Foreign Ownership Of Business In Key Ownership
President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed a measure on Monday allowing full foreign ownership of additional public services, including telecommunications and domestic shipping, further liberalizing the Philippine economy.
Telecommunications, domestic shipping, trains and subways, airlines, expressways and tollways, and airports are all excluded from the definition of a public utility by Republic Act No. 11647, which changes the 85-year-old Public Service Act. This implies they will no longer be subject to the Constitution’s restriction on foreign ownership of public utilities of 40%.
Foreign nationals are likewise prohibited from holding more than 50% of capital in public services engaged in the operation and administration of essential infrastructure unless their country grants reciprocity to Filipinos. Foreign state-owned firms are likewise barred from investing in any public service that is categorized as a utility or critical infrastructure.
The President has also been given the authority to halt or prevent any planned merger, acquisition, or investment in a public service that might result in a foreigner or foreign entity gaining control. The administration hopes that the policy would aid in the recovery of the Philippine economy by producing much-needed jobs.
In his speech at a signing ceremony, President Durterte said:
“I believe that the easing of foreign equity restrictions would attract more investors, modernize several sectors of public service, and improve the delivery of essential services.”
He further added that by easing foreign equity restrictions in key industries, the law will spur critical investments to fast-track inclusive recovery and development that will leave no Filipino behind.