Press Release
May 31, 2021

PSA amendments to strengthen national security and economy -- Poe

The Senate is set to continue deliberations of the Palace-certified Public Service Act (PSA) this week, led by sponsor Sen. Grace Poe.

"Welcoming foreign investors in the service sector will not only spur competition leading to better services, but it will also help provide more jobs to our countrymen amid the pandemic," said Poe.

"Our economic landscape has significantly changed since the PSA was enacted 85 years ago, to the point that it is already incompatible with our progress. If we fail to adapt today, we will be left further behind," the senator added.

Senate Bill No. 2094 seeks to amend the PSA by providing a clearer differentiation between "public services" and "public utilities'' that will free public services that are not considered natural monopolies from foreign equity restrictions.

During the period of interpellations at the Senate last week, Poe stressed that while "we must protect our national sovereignty," such must not unduly shackle the advancement of the national economy.

"It is incumbent upon us in Congress, even our military, and all our administrative agencies to make sure that we guard our sovereignty. But to say that we need to close off our economy because of these possible threats would also mean a certain loss and defeat for us," Poe earlier said.

The senator underscored that proper safeguards have been set in place in the proposed amendment, particularly for critical infrastructure such as telecommunications and common carriers.

"We cannot be governed by paranoia. So if we want our country to progress, we need to encourage more competition," stressed Poe.

According to the senator, the proposed amendment actually guarantees layers of security, considering that foreigners will still have to go through the vetting of the National Security Council.

The bill also states that critical industries like telecommunications and common carriers will be subject to periodic reviews by the Office of the President and Congress and can have their permit to operate or even their franchise cancelled if they pose a threat to national security.

Other safeguards include the state-owned entity ban where foreign enterprises owned by their state or government are not allowed in critical infrastructure ownership or control, and only 25 percent of the employees of all public services and critical infrastructure can be foreign where the rest of the workforce should be Filipinos.

"As we are trying to do this simultaneously--strengthen our national security and also our economy--it is incumbent upon Congress and the concerned administrative agencies to make sure that those investing in our country are above board and are not controlled by a foreign state," said Poe.

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