It’s only recently that Congress proposed to amend the Public Service Act, which distinguishes public services from public utilities, allowing complete foreign ownership on key industries such as telecommunications. This proposal elicited approving responses by foreign telcos to enter the Philippine market.
With the intention to develop a fail-safe measure for the Philippines to econmically recover amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill became a driving force to such a goal. And that decision was met favorably by foreign investors, as per Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua.
Accordingly, European telcos had also expressed their interest to enter the Philippine market after releasing the proposal of amending the Public Service Act. European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) President Lars Wittig stated that the ratification is an “absolute massive game-changer and will create double-digits, billion-dollar investments.”
On the other hand, some expressed concerns about the bill now signed into law. For instance, think tank IBON Foundation stated that it “will be one step forward, two steps backwards for the country.”
Specifically, it will be a one-step forward if it boosts foreign investment and expands crucial industries, including telcos. After that, however, it’ll be two steps backward due to the likely increase of foreign capital’s share, leading to difficulties for developing Filipino enterprises and national security threats it posed in the long-term.
Nevertheless, the government sought to address the pressing problems occurring in the country caused by the pandemic. Through the amended Public Service Act now taking effect, there’s no doubt that stronger competition will spur within the telco industry.