Amending Public Services Act will lead to foreign control of Phl telecoms, media, vital sectors—Gabriela

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Gabriela Women’s Party has  warned that the proposed amendments to Public Services Act will set the stage for the total control  by foreign countries  of several vital sectors and services, including the media industry, in the Philippines.

According to Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, of Gabriela Women’s Party,   House Bill 78, which is one of the priority measures of the Duterte Administration, allows full foreign ownership of media entities, railways, transport systems, telecommunication systems, among others. 

“Sinasagad ng rehimeng Duterte ang pagbebenta sa halos lahat ng serbisyo publiko sa malalaking dayuhang negosyante sa ilalim nitong amyenda sa Public Service Act. Kulang na lang ay tahasang ipamigay nya ang mga lupain at lahat ng serbisyong dapat ay nasa kontrol ng gobyerno,” said  Brosas.

“So much for Duterte’s talk of sovereignty and patrimony and against foreign ownership. This measure, if passed, would lead to foreign takeover of public transport systems, internet services, media and other sectors at the expense of ordinary consumers who will pay costlier services,” Brosas said.

Brosas said such measure dovetails Duterte’s  major auctions to Chinese capital of key sectors such as telecoms (Dito Telecommunity), and airports (MacroAsia partnership with Chinese firm for Sangley airport).

“The Public Services Act amendments bill is essentially Duterte’s economic Charter change, as it seeks open the gates for full foreign ownership to virtually all public services and utilities except power and water. Shortcut ito sa Cha-cha habang kasalukuyang tinatalakay sa komite ang mas komprehensibong pagbabago sa Konstitusyon,” said Brosas.

Brosas said  the bill hinges on an outdated free market argument regarding competition and supposed improvement of services.

“Habang ang maraming bansa sa mundo ay nagpapasa ng batas para i-nasyonalisa at proteksyunan ang kanilang pampublikong yutilidad,  she said.

Brosas said the fact that the period of interpellation stretched to six months with over a dozen interpellators means that the House leadership should think twice in approving HB 78.

“The economic impact of this measure would be disastrous. Dapat na masusing makonsidera ng Kamara ang mga agam-agam at pagtutol sa panukalang batas na ito na pabor lamang sa dayuhan,” Brosas also said. /Stacy Ang

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