Rep. Sharon Garin said that the New Public Service Act (PSA) that was recently passed by the legislative bicameral committee and ratified by both chambers of Congress, will aid the country’s economic recovery and assured that it will not be a threat to the national patrimony.
Garin, the chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Economic Affairs and nominee of the party-list group AAMBIS-OWA, who sponsored the bill said safeguards are well in place under the amendments made to the 85-year-old Public Service Act of Commonwealth Act 146.
Garin made the statement to dispel fears expressed by the business sector on the threats to be posed by the expected influx of foreign investors.
The bicameral conference report earlier reconciled the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 78 and Senate Bill 2094 that both amend the Public Service Law.
“We only want foreign investments to supplement Filipino capital. Because, the Filipinos also need help to start the new industries and businesses needed so we can improve the basic services for the Filipinos,” she said.
In the ratified bicameral conference report, the following services have been classified as public utility, subject to the 40 percent foreign ownership cap under the Constitution: a) distribution of electricity; b) transmission of electricity; c) petroleum and petroleum products pipeline transmission systems; d) water pipeline distribution systems and wastewater pipeline systems, including sewerage pipeline systems; e) seaports; and public utility vehicles.
Any industry not included in the list will remain as public services and will be liberalized, allowing foreigners to own up to 100 percent thereof.
The move is expected to attract foreign investment in these sectors, and benefit the public with increased competition and cheaper prices.
The new law will primarily rationalize the foreign equity restrictions by clearly defining the term “public utilities” and critical infrastructure but taking the utmost consideration the protection of national security.
“It is during these difficult times where most of the businesses have closed, not much of the economic activities were allowed, more jobs are losing resulting to an inevitable increase of inflation rates and continuous decline of Philippine gross domestic product (GDP), that our country needed all the assistance from our allied countries to invest for our economy to heal, arise and recover from devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic,” Garin said.
Garin maintained the House has exerted all efforts to build a “resilient economy” through long-term economic and industry reforms.
“As legislators, it is our role create a productive business environment for investors that, in return, is expected to translate to more employment opportunities for Filipinos. We need new capital, ideas, and technology as we tread the road toward economic resiliency,” Garin said.