The Philippines looks set to allow full foreign ownership of companies in critical industries including telecommunications.
Ahead of presidential elections on 9th May, CommsUpdate reports that the outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the move, signing off on Senate Bill 2094 to update the Public Services Act. Previously, foreign ownership in critical sectors has been restricted to 40%.
Duterte claimed that the move would encourage investment into the Philippines, thereby boosting quality of service and modernising “several sectors of public service” which would “improve the delivery of essential services.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OSCE) welcomed the liberalisation of the market, but detractors argue that it could threaten the Philippines’ national security. In particular, this relates to Chinese-owned companies - such as DITO Telecommunity which is partially owned by China Telecom – as the Philippines and China continue to clash over territorial waters.