Philippines permits 100% foreign ownership of public services under new law.

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On March 21, 2022, President Rodrigo Duterte approved Senate Bill (SB) 2094, which amended the Commonwealth Act No.146 or known as the Public Service Act, relaxing restrictions on foreign ownership of public services in the Philippines.

Previously, public services were restricted to 40 per cent foreign ownership, but SB 2094 opened up public services to 100 per cent foreign ownership.

Public services that foreign investors can fully own are:

  • Airlines
  • Telecommunications
  • Domestic shipping
  • Railways
  • Subways

Public utilities will remain restricted to the 40 per cent foreign ownership and 60 per cent Filipino ownership rule.

Public utilities include:

  • Electricity distribution and transmission
  • Water pipeline distribution and sewerage
  • Seaports
  • Petroleum pipeline
  • Public utility vehicles

“I believe that through this law, the easing out of foreign equity restrictions will attract more global investors, modernise several sectors of public service and improve the delivery of essential services,” said Duterte.

It is also expected that the amendments will generate more jobs for Filipinos, expand the economy and allow the exchange of skills and technology with foreign partners.

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