MANILA, Philippines – Several measures have already been approved to allow foreign ownership of companies in the Philippines, which has one of the most liberal foreign investment laws in Asia, according to retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Carpio said on Monday that the country was capable of doing this without changing the Constitution.
“There appears to be a lack of understanding on the part of our national leaders about the extent of foreign ownership, under the law, of businesses in our country,” Carpio said during the Senate subcommittee hearing on constitutional amendments and code revisions.
He cited President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who had already revealed that he wanted to open the economy to foreign investment “except in critical areas such as energy generation.”
Carpio, however, emphasized that “power generation from coal, oil and gas plants has been open to 100% foreign ownership for the longest time.”
He also highlighted that the recently amended Public Utilities Law reclassified companies as public utilities open to 100% foreign ownership.
He added that the Public Utilities Law 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 commerce is open to 100 percent foreign ownership under the amended RA 8762, subject, of course, to reasonable minimum requirements.” of capital,” said Carpio.
“And renewable energy generation – solar and wind – has just been opened to 100 percent foreign ownership under the Department of Energy circular amending the rules and regulations implementing RA 9513,” he added.
But despite this, why does the country record low foreign direct investments? Carpio emphasized that this is not in the 1987 Constitution.
In his position paper read during the hearing, Carpio attributed this to the high cost of energy, bureaucratic regulation and inadequate infrastructure.
With President Marcos' directive, the Senate is leading discussions on proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
These changes, however, focus only on the measure's specific economic provisions covering public services, advertising and education.