Presidential candidate Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson will not allow outside investors to exploit Republic Act 11647 or the amended Foreign Investments Act (FIA) of 1991 at the expense of local business owners belonging to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.
Lacson and his running mate gave this assurance, Wednesday, in their dialogue with multi-sectoral stakeholders at the Southern City Colleges-West Campus in San Jose Gusu, Zamboanga City.
The presidential candidate said he and Sotto helped enact RA 11647 but they ensured that its provisions would not be detrimental to members of the MSME sector, which is still reeling from the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“May threshold diyan, hindi pwedeng pasukin ng foreign direct investment o mga foreign investors (ang ilang mga industriya kung) maaapektuhan ‘yung ating mga maliliit na negosyo—tinatawag nating micro at saka small (enterprises),” Lacson explained.
[It has a threshold. Foreign direct investments or foreign investors are not allowed (to participate in industries) that would affect small business owners—those what we refer to as micro and small (enterprises).]
Lacson has previously stated that lifting the MSME sector out of its pandemic slump would be one of his priorities under his administration. He vowed to protect the interests of small business owners in the country despite the possible influx of foreign investors because of the amended FIA.
“Gusto ko lang liwanagin, kasi baka sabihin nila, e bakit ‘yung Kongreso binayaan nilang mamatay ‘yung ating mga MSME. Hindi po, pinoproteksyunan natin (ang MSMEs) sa ilalim ng batas… Kaya ‘yung ating (mga kababayan na) may maliit na negosyo, ‘wag kayong mag-alala, hindi kayo tatamaan ng batas na ‘yon,” according to the seasoned public servant.
[Let me just clarify, because some people might wonder how come the members of Congress are letting our MSMEs die—no. Under the law, the MSMEs are protected… So, to our citizens who own small businesses, you have nothing to worry about. You will not be adversely impacted by that law.]
The incumbent Senate President, for his part, said before they transmitted RA 11647 to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval, they made sure that domestic ownership of businesses has been safeguarded. They applied similar guidelines for RA 11659 or the Public Service Act.
Under the FIA, the government is now permitting foreign investors to invest 100 percent on local businesses, while the Public Service Act relaxed state regulations on foreign nationals’ participation in industries such as telecommunications, railways, and airlines.
A representative from the youth sector raised this topic in the recent Lacson-Sotto town hall forum, so they can keep themselves abreast of the senators’ concrete plans for job generation through foreign investments, if and when they are elected as the next president and vice president.
Sotto assured Zamboanga City residents that under a Lacson administration, the laws enacted by members of past, present and future Congresses will be felt by Filipinos because they will be implemented accordingly.
“Hindi na kailangang galawin ang Konstitusyon, maipatupad lang nang tama itong bagong batas na ito, magkakaroon na po ng pagkakataon ang mga investments dito sa atin para lumaganap (ang pag-unlad),” according to Sotto.
[We don’t have to modify our Constitution. We only need to implement the amended laws properly, open up new opportunities for foreign investments in our country to spread (economic growth).]