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Bill on lifting foreign ownership of public services passes second reading

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure that eases limits on full foreign ownership of public services.

According to a report by The Philippine Star, the measure, referred to as House Bill No. 78, amends the 84-year-old Public Service Act that states a 40% limit on foreign ownership. The measure also seeks to allow more foreign investment in businesses that are public utilities. Additionally, the HB 78 also distinguishes the definition of “public service” from “public utility.”

In the bill, “public service” covers “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.”

In the bill’s explanatory note, Author of the bill Albay Rep. Joey Salceda expressed:

This legislative reform will significantly contribute to increasing competition, as well as protecting the public interest. More competition among providers would result in lower prices and improved quality of basic services in the Philippines creating a more competitive economy towards a better quality of life for all.

via The Philippine Star, CNN

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