The National Economic and Development Authority released Monday the implementing rules and regulations of the amended Public Service Act that allows full foreign ownership of businesses in select industries such as airports, railways, expressways, and telecommunications.
NEDA chief Sec. Arsenio Balisacan said the IRR of Republic Act 11659 was completed after extensive review and consultations with the public, legislators, relevant administrative agencies, and other key stakeholders.
“All 21 agencies, including NEDA, approved the implementing rules and regulations of the amended Public Services Act. With the IRR already in place, we see this as a landmark reform that will further improve the country’s position as an ideal investment hub, which will help enhance employment opportunities and allow more Filipinos to benefit from more improved goods and services,” Balisacan said.
Upon its effectivity on April 4, 2023, the amendments to the PSA shall enable the liberalization of key public services.
Prior to the approval of the amendments, foreign ownership in the said industries was limited to 40 percent.
Public service utilities such as electricity transmission and distribution, water and wastewater pipeline distribution systems including sewerage, petroleum and petroleum products pipeline transmission systems, seaports, and public utility vehicles remain subject to the 60-40 percent foreign equity limitation.
The amendments also provide safeguard provisions to protect the country against national security concerns that may arise through any proposed merger or acquisition, or any investment in a public service.
“The PSA amendments form a critical part of our endeavor to attract foreign investments to the country to boost market competitiveness, foster innovation, and create high-quality jobs,” Balisacan said.
Together with complementary policies and measures, Balisacan said he remained confident that the Philippines would be able to attract much-needed capital and technology, sustain its high-growth trajectory, and generate high-quality jobs enabling rapid poverty reduction in the next six years.
These policies and measures include the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ratification, amendments to the IRR of the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, approval of the NEDA Joint Venture Guidelines, as well as the Marcos administration’s continuous efforts to raise investor interest in the country.