Carpio cites PH laws on foreign ownership of businesses
MANILA, Philippines — Several measures have already been passed to allow foreign ownership of business in the the Philippines, which has one of the most liberal foreign investment laws in Asia, according to retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Carpio on Monday said the country was able to do this without amending the Constitution.
“There appears to be a lack of understanding by our national leaders of the extent of foreign ownership, under the law, of businesses in our country,” said Carpio during the Senate subcommittee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes’ hearing.
He quoted President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who had earlier disclosed that he wanted to open the economy to foreign investments “except in critical areas such as power generation.”
Carpio, however, emphasized that “power generation from coal, oil, and gas plants has been open to 100 percent foreign ownership for the longest time.”
He also pointed out that the recently amended Public Services Act has reclassified businesses as public services open to 100 percent foreign ownership.
He added that the Public Services Act has allowed 100 percent foreign ownership in telecommunications, air, sea, and land transportation except public utility vehicles and airports.
“Local banks are open to 100 percent foreign ownership under Republic Act 10641. Legal trade is open to 100 percent foreign ownership under the amended RA 8762, subject, of course, to reasonable minimum requirements on capital,” said Carpio.
“And the generation of renewable energy — solar and wind – has just been open to 100 percent foreign ownership under the Department of Energy circular amending the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9513,” he added.
But despite these, why does the country record low foreign direct investments? Carpio emphasized that this does not lie in the 1987 Constitution.
In his position paper read during the hearing, Carpio attributed this to the high cost of power, bureaucratic regulation, and inadequate infrastructure.
With President Marcos’ directive, the Senate is spearheading discussions on the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
These amendments, however, only focus on the measure’s specific economic provisions covering public services, advertising, and education.