Press Release
September 9, 2021

Grace Poe's transcript on Public Service Act
DBCC briefing on the proposed 2022 National Expenditure Program

Sen. Grace Poe: Secretary Karl (Chua), since you're there already, I would like to air a few concerns. As you know, we are already in the period of amendments for the Public Service Act. And perhaps, I would like to get from you, if let's say we pass this, what are your projections? Which industries will benefit from it? How much can it add to our economy?

NEDA Sec. Karl Chua: Mr. Chair, it is very hard to make a precise projection but I have looked at the past experience. For instance, in the banking sector in the 90s, we opened banking to foreign players and the data that I've seen in the studies is that around seven foreign banks entered the Philippines in the one-year period. I cannot predict exactly what will happen to the Public Service Act but I surmise that there will be a lot of interest especially in telecoms and transport because there is really a huge gap between what we have right now and what would be potentially good for these two sectors.

Poe: Secretary Karl, I would like to air a few concerns. This is actually a gripe that we have. First of all, you're the lead agency assigned for the PSA but the feedback that I've been getting is that you don't submit timely research and technical knowledge on covered industries. Coordinating with all affected agencies and senators with various concerns, we have to reach out to various agencies ourselves. The other agencies sent commissioners and heads to assist for PSA, NEDA sent a director who can't commit to positions. Another concern is that when we request for clarification on technical language, your team outright refuses to comment on anything that is not on their database. 'Pag walang data, they don't even make an effort to comment—they just leave it blank. Unlike FEF and Atty. Angeles who really would send, make an effort to send their research. Now, we will tackle the amendments by next week. If you're really serious in having a successful version of the bill passed, I think that you should give us projections for telcos, airlines, shipping especially the foreign ownership limits in all countries. Because sometimes we're being asked, wala kaming information, ang nakikita lang namin is the one that is being published... or the ones submitted by our other resource persons but the official ones from NEDA, wala kami. So can you please assign, if not yourself actually being online when we do the amendments, kasi I'm already telling you now, liberalizing certain sectors is going through a hurdle because of national security concerns. So we're balancing both national security and economic concerns, and if you're not going to make our arguments strong enough by providing data, we might not be able to get what we want from here—which is the spirit of the law, of liberalizing our economy. I'm just saying that we will be asking you for more data. I hope that your team can focus on this and it will really be such a big relief and help for us if somebody can monitor while we are having our discussions.

Chua: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Senator Poe, we will make the necessary adjustments and make sure our presence is fully there to support you. My apologies for what happened.

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