Marcos open to 100 percent foreign ownership of power generation projects, but...

Bureaucratic and legislative kinks must be ironed out first before the incoming Marcos administration can allow the 100 percent foreign ownership of power generation ventures in the country.

President-elect Bongbong Marcos (Noel Pabalate/ MANILA BULLETIN)

President-elect Bongbong Marcos's statements on Monday, June 20 gave this indication even as he ultimately appeared to be open to the idea of full foreign ownership when it comes to that sector.

In a press conference at the BBM headquarters, Marcos was asked about his views on foreign ownership in light of what Ambassador of Norway, Bjorn Jahnsen said last week regarding the possible development of the Philippines' promising offshore wind sector.

"The ownership is one issue but it's not the main one. And I think if we can take care of all of that first, madali nang pumayag tayo sa 100 percent ownership (agreeing to 100 percent ownership will be easy)," Marcos.

Jahnsen claimed that some 50,000 good-paying jobs could be generated from this sector, but noted that Philippine policies would have to be "adjusted".

While the envoy did not specifically mention the need for 100 percent foreign ownership on that venture, he said that "foreign companies should be able to own majority of the equity in these kinds of investments as they often are imvestments with several billions of dollars".

But Marcos said, "There are other issues before that, there are other issues before the ownership."

"At this point marami nang pumapasok ng joint venture. Ang mahirap sa kasi sa ownership, hindi, kahit na sila ang may-ari, magbubukas, kung sila lang ang magpapatakbo, nahihirapan silang things like ease of doing business, yung power supply (A lot enter as joint ventures. The difficulty with ownership is, even if they are the owners and they run things, they experience difficulties in things like ease of doing business, the power supply), all of these things," he said.

"So and even the bidding process, kung minsan (sometimes)...they have these question, yung tinatawag na guarantees (about what you call guarantees).

"Yung legislative guarantees, yung mga regulatory guarantees. Ibig sabihin hindi magbabago yung batas habang ginawa yung project nila, hindi magbabago yung regulation habang ginagawa pa lamang yung project nila. Yung mga ganyang klaseng bagay, yun ang talagang hinihingi nila (These are the legislative guarantees and the regulatory guarantees. This refers to a guarantee that the laws would remain intact for the duration of their project, that the regulations won't change. Those are the things that they ask for)," the 64-year-old former senator explained.

The Philippines’ Public Service Act (PSA), signed only last March by outgoing President Duterte, allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of public services in the country.

However, this relatively new law only covers the distribution and transmission aspects of power such electricity, and not power generation or production.

Jahnsen described offshore wind as “the best wind resource”.