MANILA – Local and foreign business groups in the country have expressed their support to amend the Public Service Act, which is expected to attract more investments and create additional jobs for Filipinos.
In a joint statement Monday, the 12 business groups said amendments to the 84-year-old Public Service Act will help to reverse the declining foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country.
The central bank will release the final FDI figures later this month, but it was estimated that the country’s net FDI dropped 30 percent to USD7 billion in 2019 from USD10 billion in 2018.
The local and foreign business groups said this measure of the Duterte administration will make the Philippines become more competitive with its Asean neighbors in attracting FDIs.
On February 18, 2020, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 78 on second reading, the bill amending the Public Service Act.
The business groups commended the action from the lower House, and are expecting the bill will be passed on third reading.
However, Senate bills on modifying the Public Service Act are still pending.
“We strongly urge the Senate to pass this crucial piece of legislation, as its enactment into law will enable the Philippines to lift its momentum towards economic growth and development to a higher level and improve the lives of citizens,” the groups said.
Aside from giving distinction between a public service and a public utility, HB 78 aims to ease foreign equity restrictions in several service industries.
“New FDI, attracted by the new law, will flow into domestic infrastructure in public services, improving technology, quality, and competition, bringing better pricing, and enhancing access to services for unserved and undeserved areas,” they added.
These business groups include Bankers Association of the Philippines, Foundation for Economic Freedom, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc., and Semiconductor & Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc.
Foreign chambers supporting the amendments to the law are American Chamber of Commerce, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, and Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines. (PNA)