New Public Service Act to give PH much-needed economic boost, says Garin

Published February 9, 2022, 4:18 PM

by Seth Cabanban

The Philippine economy will receive a boost from increased foreign investments as a result of the newly-amended 1936 Public Service Act (PSA).

House Committee on Economic Affairs Chairperson AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin made this assurance as she noted that the law now allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of public services in the country.

Rep. Sharon Gawin (Photo taken from MANILA BULLETIN)

The PSA was amended following the ratification of the bicameral conference report on the conflicting provisions between House Bill (HB) No. 78 and Senate Bill (SB) No. 2094.

“We only want foreign investments to supplement Filipino capital. Kasi, kailangan rin ng tulong ng Pilipino para makapagtayo tayo ng malalaking industriya, malalaking negosyo (Filipinos also need help in starting large industries and businesses) so we can improve the basic services for the Filipinos,” Garin said in a press statement on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

She underscored that the new PSA won’t be a threat to Philippine patrimony.

Under the newly-tweaked PSA, the telecommunications, railways, expressways, airports, and shipping industries will be considered public services, thus allowing up to 100 percent foreign ownership in these sectors. The move is seen to entice potential foreign investors.

Meanwhile the following industries will remain public utilities, meaning foreign ownership on these will cap out at 40 percent: electricity distribution, electricity transmission systems; petroleum products, petroleum transmission; water pipeline, distribution, sewage pipeline systems; seaports, and public utility vehicles (PUVs).

Garin said the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted to “an inevitable increase of inflation rates and continuous decline of Philippine gross domestic product (GDP)”.

“Our country needed all the assistance from our allied countries to invest for our economy to heal, arise and recover from [the] devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

“As legislators, it is our role to create a productive business environment for investors that, in return, is expected to translate to more employment opportunities for Filipinos,” the former deputy speaker concluded.