100% foreign ownership of internet ventures seen
The Philippines will allow up to 100-percent foreign ownership of internet businesses as soon as President Duterte signs the proposed 11th Foreign Investment Negative List, the country’s chief economist said Tuesday.
During the Senate finance committee’s hearing on the proposed 2019 budget of the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told senators that based on feedback from the Office of the President Tuesday morning, the draft 11th FINL was “now up for signature” as it was already “under full review.”
Pernia, who is also Neda chief, said the proposed 11th FINL would “exclude internet business from mass media.”
Committee chair Sen. Loren Legarda as well as Sen. Risa Hontiveros pointed out that mass media were considered a public utility, hence restricted from foreign ownership under the 1987 Constitution.
Pernia later explained to reporters that at present, the internet was considered part of mass media.
“When the Constitution was drafted, there was no internet yet,” the Neda chief noted.
But traditional mass media such as print and broadcast were not yet included in the 11th FINL, as liberalizing these sectors will require a constitutional amendment, he said.
Specifically, internet service providers, among other online-based businesses, would be opened up to full foreign ownership, according to Pernia.