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Philippines now allows full foreign ownership of public utilities

The Philippines now allows full foreign ownership of more public services, such as telecommunications and domestic shipping, to further liberalise its economy. President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed Republic Act No. 11647, which amends the 85-year-old Public Service Act that excludes telecommunications, domestic shipping, railways and subways, airlines, expressways and tollways, and airports from the definition of a public utility. The amended law means these services will no longer be subject to the 40% foreign ownership cap for public utilities under the Constitution. The president is also given the authority to suspend or prohibit any proposed merger or acquisition or investment in a public service that will result in giving control to a foreigner or foreign corporation. The government is hoping the measure will help the Philippine economy recover from the pandemic by creating much-needed jobs.

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