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Foreign Companies want to invest in PH — Solon

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House Committee on Economic Affairs Chairman Sharon Garin said the country is now attracting the “good” kind of attention from foreign investors. She said they were previously hesitant to invest in the country because of restrictive old laws.

Many international companies are interested in investing in the Philippines following the enactment of laws under the Foreign Investments Act and the Public Service Act.

“Finally, after a century of restrictions, we now have relevant laws to help which encourages long-term investments in underutilized public sectors such telecommunications, shipping, air carriers, railways and subways,” Garin said.

Garin specifically mentioned Elon Musk’s satellite-based internet provider Starlink, which would soon be available in the Philippines.

“We have heard from Elon Musk’s Starlink, which will hopefully make internet better and more accessible all over the country,” she said. Their low-orbit satellite technology can bring internet access to remote areas which are previously underserved or unserved by traditional connectivity.”

According to Garin, Swiss and Australian authorities have remarked that the liberalization of some businesses will bring in more foreign money and boost economic growth in the Philippines.

Garin cited the Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen as saying that there are Swiss companies planning to set up operations in the country.

“I can go on, but the list of excited potential investors is long. What is clear to me is that by making our economic policies relevant, we are now seeing a renewed interest in revitalizing our economy from many sectors,” she said.

She asserts that increasing competition would result in better service and lower prices for customers. Garin also emphasized the need for economic and technological interaction in the nation, which has lagged behind several neighbouring countries and is further impeded by economic shutdowns during community quarantines.

“An inflow of capital and better technology is a great step toward reviving our economy,” Garin said.

The revisions to the Public Service Act amend the legal definition of “public services” and those that are covered under the industrial category of “public utilities.” The term “public utility” is now limited to the distribution and transmission of electricity, the transport of petroleum and petroleum products, water distribution, wastewater systems, seaports, and public utility vehicles. The 40% restriction on foreign equity investment in public services that are not regarded as “public utilities” is lifted.

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