Gatchalian files bill to ease restrictions on foreign contractors
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to repeal a 78-year-old law that prohibits foreign contractors from bidding on locally funded public works projects.
Gatchalian said that Senate Bill 1907 will “provide a more level playing field and extend equal opportunities to eligible and qualified domestic and foreign bidders to participate in the bidding by the government for public works projects.”
“This bill should be considered in the context of positioning the Philippines more competitively and attracting new investments in the construction industry, to enable the government to deliver the much-needed infrastructure that would support the country’s initiatives in providing a business climate conducive to investments in the country,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
The bill amends Commonwealth Act No. 541 (CA 541) or “An Act to Regulate the Awarding of Contracts for Construction or Repair of Public Works,” and extends equal opportunities in awarding or negotiating contracts to eligible and qualified domestic and foreign contractors.
Under the current law, only firms with 75 percent Filipino ownership or more are allowed to bid on locally funded public works projects
Gatchalian said the “amendment is timely” as the government is pursuing an aggressive infrastructure development thrust through the “Build, Build, Build” program.
He also noted that between 2010 and 2015, public construction grew by only 8 percent, while private construction grew by 58 percent.
“The lack of genuine competition in the public construction industry impairs public welfare as there are fewer incentives for existing domestic firms to innovate and puts at risk the delivery of reliable, safety-compliant and quality public works,” he said. /ee
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