The Philippines: House OKs full foreign ownership in power, transport, communications

  • The House of Representatives approved on 19 Feb 20 the measure amending the 84-year-old Public Service Act to allow full foreign ownership in the public service sector including the transportation, communication and power industries.
  • The House plenary voted to pass on second reading House Bill 78 (HB 78), which delineated “public service” from “public utility” that is covered by the 40% limit on foreign ownership set by the 1987 Constitution.
  • The measure limits the coverage of public utilities to distribution of electricity, transmission of electricity, water pipeline distribution system and sewerage pipeline system.
  • On the other hand, HB 78 defines public service to cover “common carrier, railroad, street railway, subway motor vehicle, ice refrigeration plant, irrigation system, marine railways, wire or wireless communications systems; wire or wireless broadcasting stations; freight or carrier services, steam boats ferries and war craft engaged in the transportation of passengers or freight, gas, electric light, heat and power water supply and power, petroleum and sewerage system, among others.”
  • Lawmakers further revealed that the enactment of the proposed law would eventually benefit consumers.

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