Business groups renew call for passage of key reforms

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine and foreign business groups renewed their call for the passage of urgent reforms within the remaining sessions of Congress to support post-pandemic recovery.

In letters sent to leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, the local business groups and foreign chambers expressed support for the early ratification of the following bills under several bicameral conference committees: the Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act, amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, and the creation of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The groups also pushed for the passage of amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA).

While the groups support the passage of the PSA, they oppose the inclusion of any provision in the pending Senate version that expands the legislative franchise requirement to public services beyond those provided under existing laws.

Proposed amendments to the PSA aim to limit the definition of public utilities to natural monopolies and distinguish them from public services.

Under the Constitution, public utilities need to be 60 percent Filipino-owned.

Amendments to PSA are expected to open key sectors such as transportation and telecommunications to greater foreign investment.

Other bills the business groups want passed are the Department of Water Resources Management, Ease of Paying Taxes Bill, Freedom of Information, Open Access in Data Transmission, Philippine Creative Industries, Promotion of Digital Payments, Rural Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing System Act, Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law amendments, Tax Reform Package 3: Property Valuation and Assessment Reform, and Tax Reform Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation.

“Most of these 11 reform bills have reached advanced stages in either chamber of Congress and only require counterpart action in the other chamber,” the groups said.

The proposed measures are expected to help the country attract investments as well as create jobs to support recovery from the pandemic.

Signatory groups include the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc., Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc., and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc.

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