EDC and business groups reaffirmed call for Congress to approve Public Service Act amendments

The Export Development Council (EDC), together with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), and Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP) reaffirm call for Congress to approve the Public Service Act (PSA) amendments.

The groups highly encourage the Congressional Bicameral Conference Committee to adopt the most liberal provisions between the House and Senate versions in the sectors of (1) airports and seaports, (2) tollways/expressways, (3) air carriers, (4) telecommunications, and (5) public utility vehicles (PUVs). 

Both Houses have already passed the proposed bills for the amendment of the 1936 PSA on the third reading. However, there are a few differences in terms of the coverage of public utilities.

While the House version limits public utilities to only the electricity distribution, electricity transmission, water pipeline distribution, and sewerage pipeline, the Senate version included the airports, seaports, tollways and expressways, and PUVs to those that will be retained to the 60%-40% foreign ownership restriction.

On the provisions of reciprocity, the groups pushed that it “should not prevent important foreign investment from coming to the Philippines, as could the Senate bill provision. When the Philippine economy needs more foreign capital, the law should not require that a Filipino firm be allowed the same in the investor’s country. The reciprocity provision should not be a barrier to needed investment.”

Moreover, they believe that “the ‘justified concerns’ of policy-makers in government for national security should be satisfied by the language in the Senate bill, which restricts state-owned enterprises (SOEs) from owning public services and creates a process for all foreign investments in public services to be reviewed and approved by the president”.KJDA

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