Duterte administration’s economic team plans to release the new list of investment activities reserved for Filipinos by middle of next month as the government reviews the foreign investment negative list.
In a chance interview with Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, he said the economic team started to review the FINL in May and targets to come up with the list of sectors where the government aims to relax.
“We have to get a consensus of all the members of the economic team, of the Cabinet,” Dominguez told reporters.
“We will determine it first among ourselves and then we will talk to the stakeholders. But we have to decide our position first,” he added.
The finance chief said the government is open to relax certain sectors as much as it can, provided it will not violate any legislation and the Constitution.
Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said he is open to relax public utilities up to 70 percent, in which Dominguez also supported.
“Provided it’s allowed by law and Constitution. The only limitation we have there is what’s legislated and what’s in the Constitution. That’s the only limit, because we’re only reviewing those things that can be done administratively,” Dominguez added.
“There’s a bill that Congresswoman [Gloria] Macapagal-Arroyo put out, which is defining what a public utility is. If you change the definition, then you might be able to open,” he noted, pertaining to House Bill 4389.
Under the HB 4389, it only limits public utilities to electric-power transmission and distribution, water distribution, and sewerage system.
The current list of public utilities also include electric-power generation and supply, crude oil and petroleum, transportation, broadcasting, telecommunications and value-added services.
“We will determine the list first among ourselves and then we will consult it,” Dominguez said.
Even before the Duterte administration, various business groups have called for the revisiting of FINL that will liberalize the economy and attract more foreign investors.