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IYEDI{ESDAY, APR . 3, 2019

Senate eyes, approval of Public Services Act

amendments before lrTth Congress ends in June
THE BILL amendingthe 8z-year- sures when lawmalers of the cur- viders. Concerns have been raised more genuine alternatives to ex-
old Public Services Act (PSA) to rent Congress return to work for about the entry particularly of isting services."
lift foreign olvrership limits es- the last time on May 2o-June Z telcos from China, with vrhich "Local companies have been
pecially in the telecommunica- Any measure that fails to make the Philippines has a simmering operating for some time, so we
tions and transport sectors may it out of Congress by the end of territorial dispute in the South expect ttrem to be able to improve
still make it out of the legislative that period will have to start the China Sea- their quality of service and sur-
mill before the tTthCongress ends legislative process in the l8'hCon- "Increasing FDI (foreign di vive market forces," she added.
in June, according to Senate lead- gress. reEt irlitstments) and promoting Both House and Senate bills
ers interviewed on Tuesday. Senator Sherwin T. Gatchal- national se-cudty are not coniict- proposed to provide a clearer def-
Senate Bill No. 1754, sponsored ian, chairman of the Committee ing goals. The country can have inition of "public sewices," which
by Senator Grace S. Poe-Llaman- on Economic Affairs, coufirmed both as long as proper safeguards had been used interchangeably
zares, now awaits second-reading in a separate phone message on are observed," she said in a text wiih'hublic utility."
approval in the chamber after its Tuesday that "we lr'ill talie up that message. The measure vrill narrow down
Countdirpart measure, House Bill bill" in those remaining session "We will ofrer an amendment ' hublic utilities" to the transmis-
No. 5828, bagged third-reading days. that gives the President and the sion and distribution of electric-
approval in September 2017 Ms. Poe, chair of the Commit- National Secu ty Council powers ity, and waterworks and sewerage
Asked if the measure can still tee on Public Services, noted that td review, suspend or prohibit an pipeline distribution system.
be passed on third and final read- the bill's "interpellation already FDI transaction that threatens to Ifenacted, the measure will lift
ing, Senate President Vicente begaa before session adjourned" impair national secuTity." foreign equityrestrictions partic-
C. Sotto III replied in a mobile for tle Feb. 9-May 19 brea}. The central bank reported on ularly on telecommunication alrd
phonemessage: "Best efiort tun.' Ms. Poe said plenary debates March u that FDI net inflows trarsportation service providers.
M!. Sotto on March 2I told re- on the bill are expected to focus dropped 44% to $9.802 billion in The I987 Constitution allows
porters the proposed a$endment on possible national security 2Ol8 from $10.256 billion in 2OIz operation of public utilities that
of Commonwealth Act No. 146 is risks from the,entry of foreign Overall, Ms, Poe said, "Foreign are at least 6070 Filipino-owned.
among the Senatet priodty mea- .telecommunication service pro- competition can give consumers Chatrnaine A. Tadalan
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