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Di na kailangan ng Cha-cha! Duterte orders NEDA board to relax rules on foreign ownership

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President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Economic and Development Authority Board to “exert utmost efforts” to ease or lift restrictions on foreign ownership on certain areas of investment.

In a memorandum order dated November 21, Duterte told the NEDA Board to “take immediate steps” to ease existing restrictions on foreign participation in the following investment areas “to raise the Philippines’ level of competitiveness, and foster higher economic growth…:”

Private recruitment, whether for local or overseas employment;
Practice of particular professions, where allowing foreign participation will redound to the public benefit;
Contracts for the construction and repair of locally-funded public works;
Public services, except activities and systems that are recognized as public utilities such as transmission and distribution of electricity, water pipeline distribution system, and sewerage pipeline system;
Culture, production, milling, processing, and trading except retailing, of rice and corn and acquiring by barter, purchase or otherwise, rice and corn and the by-products thereof;
Teaching at higher education levels;
Retail trade enterprises; and
Domestic market enterprises

Duterte issued the memorandum order after Malacanang announced that he has invited China to become the third player in the Philippine telecommunications industry, which is currently controlled by PLDT and Globe Telecoms.

In addition to easing restrictions, Duterte ordered the NEDA board to support legislative efforts to eliminate or relax the restrictions on foreign ownership, as well as advise him on areas where foreigners can already participate without the need for new legislation.