By  V. A. C. Ferreras, August 29 2019; Business World

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THE HOUSE of Representatives’ Economic Affairs committee on Wednesday approved a bill that will limit the 40% foreign ownership cap on public utilities to electricity distribution and transmission as well as water distribution and sewerage pipeline systems, in effect opening up sectors like transport and telecommunications.

“We hereby approve the committee report on House Bill No. 78, recommending its approval [in plenary session] without amendment…” said AAMBIS-OWA Party List Rep. Sharon S. Garin, who heads the committee.

The bill amends the 82-year-old Commonwealth Act No. 146, or the Public Service Act, by limiting the scope of “public utility,” a sector subject to the Constitution’s foreign ownership cap. It also prescribes a 12% rate on return cap and excludes income tax as operating expense for public utility rate-determination. — V. A. C. Ferreras