JFC call for amendments to Public Service Act
Foreign chambers join business groups opposition to retention of telcos as public utility
MANILA – The Joint Foreign Chambers expressed their concerns with the proposal to retain the 60/40 rule for telecommunications which is being considered in Senate deliberations on Senate Bill 2094, which hopes to amend the Public Services Act (PSA).
In a statement, the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce said they join Philippine business groups in calling for the Senate to liberalize the telecommunications sector to foster competition and provide better quality services at lower cost.
Senate Bill 2094 limits the definition of public utilities to natural monopolies such as distribution and transmission of electricity, water and sewerage. Should the proposed amendments to the PSA be approved, they would add telecommunications to the list.
Philippine business groups issued a statement expressing arguments against the inclusion of telecommunications as public utility.
In support of the PBGs, the JFC added further clarification for the exclusion as most ASEAN countries have better telecommunication services in the Philippines. The Philippines has the lowest mobile broadband subscription rate of 68 per 100 and lower service population penetration rate of 80%.
“Even Cambodia and Myanmar are more advanced. Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore allow 100% foreign ownership. As subscribers ourselves of the major telcos, while we appreciate the services they provide, we believe they will improve in quality and price when more competitors are allowed to operate in the country,” the JFT statement added. (Melo M. Acuña)