By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star), Feb. 7, 2017
MANILA, Philippines – Constitutional amendments that will lift foreign equity restrictions topped the list of priority economic legislative reform measures Philippine business groups want approved during the 17th Congress.
In a letter to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, several business organizations including the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) expressed support for 12 proposed reform measures which they see as essential in bolstering the Philippine investment climate.
Among the priority measures are the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package, Apprenticeship Reform Program, BOT Law amendments, and Freedom of Information, amendments to the Corporation Code and the Public Service Act, Telecom reforms, and Water Sector Reform Act, in their respective order.
Completing the list are the Bank Secrecy Law amendment, emergency powers to address traffic and transportation crises, and Retail Trade Act amendments.
“Many were considered in the last Congress and some even earlier but did not complete the legislative process. All constitute reforms that will improve the business and economic climate of the Philippines and result in more investments, jobs, and inclusive growth,” the business groups said.
Given the multiple bills for most of the proposed laws, the business organizations said they support them in principle but “not always in every detail.”
Their specific comments and suggestions would be made during the legislative process and in consultation with concerned departments.
“The Philippine business groups and Joint Foreign Chambers are optimistic the executive branch will prioritize the proposals. We believe they are in line with the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration,” they said.
JFC is the largest coalition of foreign investors in the Philippines. It is composed of the American, Australian New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean Chambers in the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Headquarters Inc.
Among the Philippine business groups that joined the call to support the 12 reform measures, include the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Foundation for Economic Freedom, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc., and Financial Executives of the Philippines.