Philippines Allows Full Foreign Ownership in Telecoms, Airlines, Shipping

Telecommunications, airlines, and shipping industries in the Philippines will now be open to full foreign ownership after President Rodrigo Duterte signed an amendment to an 85-year-old public utility law.

The new law amends 1935 legislation to remove services such as telecommunications, domestic shipping, railways, airlines, expressways and tollways, and airports from the public utility category.

Philippine laws restrict foreign ownership of public services to a stake of up to 40 percent.

The restriction will remain in place for power generation and distribution, water services, and public utility vehicles.

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

Businesspeople and foreign chamber officials hailed the move, saying it will help set competitive prices for the excluded services.

“I am confident this would bring foreign capital, this will bring growth and most importantly it will bring inclusive growth,” Lars Wittig, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, told local media ANC.

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