The Senate approved on final reading a bill that lets foreigners have full control of public services in the Philippines.

With Senate Bill No. 2094, the Commonwealth Act No. 46 or Public Service Act will be amended to clearly differentiate public services from public utilities. Telecommunications, transportation, and other key industries that will be categorized as public services will be allowed to be under full foreign ownership. Industries considered as public utilities will remain to be 60-percent Filipino-owned.

According to Sen. Grace Poe, the bill will help give Filipino consumers more choices by opening the country’s economy to a diverse set of investors. She also believes this will make the country more competitive with neighboring countries and on the world stage.

While nineteen senators voted in favor of the bill, three voted against it. Among the opposed is Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who fears full foreign ownership may jeopardize national security. She argued that the Philippines lacks the means to protect itself from cyber warfare.

But as Poe noted, there are provisions in the bill that safeguards national security.

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