PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an order updating the list of investment areas where foreign ownership is limited or barred.

The executive order on the 12th Foreign Investment Negative List no longer includes the manufacture and distribution of products requiring clearance from the Defense department.

On the previous list issued by Mr. Duterte in 2018, these products including guns and ammunition for warfare, military ordnance, guided missiles, tactical aircraft, space vehicles and military communication equipment were limited to 40% foreign equity.

The order, signed on June 27, largely maintained the status quo, which bars foreign equity in mass media except recording and the internet business.

It also reserves to Filipinos the practice of professions, cooperatives, small-scale mining, operation of private detective, watchmen, or security guard agencies, the use of marine resources in archipelagic waters, and small-scale use of natural resources in rivers, lakes, bays and lagoons.

Also reserved to locals is the ownership, operation and management of cockpits; manufacture, repair, stockpiling and distribution of biological, chemical and radiological weapons and anti-personnel mines; and manufacture of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

It also prevents foreign equity in retail trade enterprises with a paid-up capital of less than $25 million, which is way higher than the previous required paid-up capital of $2.5 million.

The order allows 25% foreign equity in private recruitment, whether for local or overseas employment, and contracts for the construction of defense-related structures.

A 30% foreign equity in advertising was kept. It also allows 40% foreign equity in infrastructure projects; exploration, development and use of natural resources; ownership of private lands; operation of public utilities; educational institutions other than those established by religious groups and mission boards.

The culture, production, milling, processing, trading except retailing of rice and corn will also be limited to 30% foreign equity.

The order also kept a 40% foreign equity in contracts for the supply of materials, goods and commodities to government corporations and agencies; operation of deep-sea commercial fishing vessels; ownership of condominium units; and private radio communication networks.

The amended Foreign Investment Act of 1991 calls for updates to the foreign investment negative list, which shows which activities are open to foreign investors and are reserved to Filipinos. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza