Philippines Allows Full Foreign Ownership of Telecoms, Airlines

March 22, 2022

Manila — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed a law allowing 100% foreign ownership of public services such as telecommunications and airlines.

The law, which updated the 1935 Public Service Act, removes the 40-per cent foreign ownership cap on the businesses by reclassifying them as public services instead of public utilities.

Aside from telecommunications and airlines, mass media, railways, shipping, and logistical facilities were also reclassified as public services.

“I believe that through this law, the easing out of foreign equity restrictions will attract more global investors, modernize several sectors of public service and improve the delivery of essential services,” Duterte said in a speech at the signing ceremony.

The law was also expected to help stimulate the domestic economy, which has been battered by restrictions imposed since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is also expected to generate more jobs for Filipinos, improve basic services for Filipino consumers and allow for the exchange of skills and technology with the country’s foreign partners,” Duterte said.

The new law keeps the foreign ownership restrictions on public utilities like electricity, water distribution, and the operations of seaports and airports.

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