JFC asks government: Release IRR for reform laws

In file photo is Makati Commerce Tower, a future power address in Makati City.

THE Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) has urged the government to fast-track the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the enacted economic reform laws to ensure that gains from these measures are immediately realized.

In a statement on Monday, the JFC lauded the passage of three “game-changing” laws—the amended Retail Trade Liberalization Act (Republic Act 11595), Public Service Act (RA 11659) and Foreign Investments Act (RA 11647).

“We share this administration’s thrust to propel the country’s economic recovery post pandemic through the enactment of game-changing economic liberalization laws,” the group said.

“Prompt issuance of IRRs for these laws would hasten the realization of gains expected from the passage of these liberalization laws, to the benefit of the public.  Indeed, we welcome recent statements by executive and legislative leaders to ‘get on with it’ after the successful efforts to pass the reforms in the Congress,” it added.

The JFC also welcomed the issuance of the amended Retail Trade Liberalization Act. The JFC urged the government to issue the IRRs of the Public Service Act and Foreign Services Act before the end of the current administration.

“Consistent with the aim of Executive Order 166, which adopts the Economic Development Cluster’s 10-point policy agenda for pandemic recovery, to speed up and sustain the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, we call on relevant government agencies to ensure that the IRRs on RA 11659 and 11647 are also issued, with sufficient stakeholder consultation, before the end of the current administration,” it said.

The JFC said its members “strongly” support the full implementation of the three economic reform laws and “pledged” their efforts to bring the attention of appropriate firms abroad to these measures and encourage them to invest in the Philippines.

“The members of the JFC express strong support for the full implementation of these new laws and pledge our efforts to bring the reforms to the attention of appropriate firms in our member countries in the United States, Australia-New Zealand, Canada, Korea, Japan, and Europe and encourage these firms to invest in the Philippines,” it said.

“With its large, growing economy, we see the Philippines benefiting from the capital, technology, and greater competition these reforms will bring in the form of more jobs and better products and services more widely available to the Filipino people,” it added.

The members of the JFC are American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of the Philippines, Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.

Last month, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the enactment of the amended Public Services Act could lead to over $100-billion investments in telecommunication, transportation and logistics in the next two years.

Lopez said current potential investments in the sectors of telecommunication, transportation, logistics and railway—where foreigners are now allowed to own 100 percent equity—are estimated at over $60 billion.

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