Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez welcome the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to legislators to pass bills that will further open the economy.
In a post-State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) interview with PTV, both Chua and Lopez underscored the need to pass legislation to amend the Foreign Investments Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Public Service Act.
“It is important that our business environment is friendly to foreign investors so that we can attract more investments. Because if there are more investments, there will be more jobs for Filipinos,” Lopez said partly in Filipino.
Duterte asked Congress during his final SONA Monday to pass the three economic reform legislative measures as these bills were certified as urgent.
“I would like to renew my call to Congress to immediately pass the amendments of priority legislative measures such as the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act, and the Retail Liberalization Act,” he said.
The amendments to Foreign Investments Act aim to allow more equity for foreign investors that will bring their businesses here.
“All of these reforms will remove or reduce foreign equity restrictions,” Lopez said. “It will help us to encourage them to invest here and generate more jobs which is needed for our economic recovery.”
Chua said amending the Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Public Service Act will help the country to benefit from world-class capital, technology, and innovation.
“So in the Public Service Act, it ushers a possibility that we have far better options for telecommunications and transportation. These two are very important to the ordinary lives of the people,” the country’s top economist said.
Meanwhile, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act will bring more options for Filipinos in the retail sector, Chua said.
“The Retail Trade Liberalization Act, when you go to the mall, you have options. If we have more open trade in the retail sector, then the ordinary Filipinos (when) they go to shop, they have more options. When you have more options, the prices fall, the quality increases,” he added.
Duterte certified the three legislative measures as urgent in a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III last April.
The economic reform bills are also targeted to be passed by October this year.
“You have to work on this, guys. Well, I’m sure that we can have a respite of this contagion in your own little way,” Duterte said in his SONA.