THE NEXT administration needs to focus on reforms addressing corruption, according to the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).
ECCP President Lars Wittig said in a roundtable discussion on Monday that such reforms benefit all businesses.
“I would like us to look at reforms that can curb the increase in corruption. Corruption has not got any better. It got worse,” Mr. Wittig said.
“When there is a very high trust level and transparency, that really makes business very adaptable and very willing to make investments,” he added.
Recently, Transparency International reported that the Philippines declined to a “historic low” in its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
According to the 2021 CPI, the Philippines fell two spots to 117th place out of 180 countries and territories. The Philippines scored 33 out of 100 in a scale that measures perceived levels of public sector corruption. The scale ranges from 0 which means “highly corrupt” and 100 which means “very clean.”
Mr. Wittig said the next administration also needs to address the need for reforms in education, agriculture, human capital, and nutrition.
The ECCP supports the passage of amendments to the Public Service Act before Congress goes on break this week for the upcoming national elections.
Mr. Wittig said amendments to the law will provide “billions of dollars of incremental investments.”
“The passage of the amendments to the Public Service Act will leverage the country’s potential to achieve comparable levels of foreign investment in other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states,” Mr. Wittig said.
“The European Union (EU) is by far the largest investor in the ASEAN region. However, only 4.6% of the EU’s 2019 foreign direct investment (FDI) stock has been invested in the Philippines,” he added.
Amendments to the Public Service Act seek to allow 100% ownership in telecommunications, air carriers, domestic shipping, railways and subways, and canals and irrigation. Currently, foreign ownership in these industries is capped at 40%. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave