‘Discriminatory to China’: Roque hits proposed amendment to Public Service Act | Inquirer News
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‘Discriminatory to China’: Roque hits proposed amendment to Public Service Act

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 01:02 PM January 13, 2022
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FILE PHOTO: Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. VALERIE ESCALERA / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — A provision in the proposed amendment to the Public Service Act which prohibits the participation of state-owned enterprises is “discriminatory to China,” former presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday.

He said the law is supposed to be liberalizing public service but the said provision is “discriminatory” especially to China were most public service are state-owned.

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“We are supposedly liberalizing even the provision of public service and yet this is an instance where we are expressly discriminating against foreign-owned enterprises,” he said in a forum.

“This is discriminatory to China because as you know many of the countries engaged in public service, including power generation and power distribution are state-owned enterprises,” Roque added.

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He even argued that the provision is “unconstitutional.”

The Senate approved last December a bill seeking to amend the Public Service Act to allow foreign ownership of airlines and telecommunications firms, among other public services.

The Senate version of the bill limits “public utility” to services on the distribution of electricity, the transmission of electricity, and water pipeline distribution and sewerage pipeline systems, airports, seaports, and public utility vehicles.

Sectors not considered to be public utilities—such as telecommunications, airlines, and the domestic shipping industry—would no longer be covered by the citizenship requirement.

Roque is running for a Senate seat in the May 2022 elections.

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