More amendments to business and investment laws eyed by Marcos

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2022 09:46 PM

MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has asked Congress to pass several new measures which he said will further improve the business climate in the country.

The measures include amendments to several laws including the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), and the E-Commerce Law. 

Marcos said the proposed changes to the BOT Law seek to improve the implementation of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) by addressing the ambiguities in the existing law; the bottlenecks and challenges affecting the implementation of the PPP Program; and fostering a more competitive and enabling environment for PPP. 

Meanwhile the EPIRA amendments aim to make it more effective in addressing the high cost of electricity, alleged market collusion, and insufficient power supply. 

“The bill seeks to restructure the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) to foster accountability and improve the commission’s government system that would ensure consumer protection and in enhancing the competitive operation of the electricity market,” Marcos said.

The Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law aims to regulate commercial activities through the internet or electronic means.

Marcos said this is to “ensure that consumer rights and data privacy are protected, innovation is encouraged, fair advertising practices and competition are promoted, online transactions are secured, intellectual property rights are protected, and product standards and safety are observed.” 

Earlier in his first SONA, Marcos said he aimed to slap a tax on digital services and goods to raise government revenues. 

Another measure that Marcos is asking Congress to pass is an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry. 

He said this is to “foster the development of the Midstream Natural Gas Industry in a bid to strengthen Philippine energy security by diversifying the country’s primary sources of energy and promoting the role of natural gas as a complementary fuel to variable renewable energy.” 

For small businesses, Marcos also called on lawmakers to pass the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE).

He said this will provide financial assistance to MSMEs and strategically important industries facing liquidity problems. Marcos said GUIDE will help these distressed firms continue operations and maintain employment. 

The Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and Philippine Guarantee Corporation will provide the assistance.