DTI backs liberalization of construction

October 19, 2018 News

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports the liberalization of the construction industry by lowering the hurdle in capitalization and allowing the entry of foreign contractors.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez assured this at a panel discussion on the European Union ­Philippines Business Network (EPBN) Summit at the Solaire Resort and Hotel yesterday.

Lopez was reacting to a call by Guenter Taus, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, for the government to reassess the licensing requirements from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.

Michael Raeuber, infrastructure committee chair of the EPBN, said EU businesses see this as a hindrance on investment resulting to little infusion by foreigners in infrastructure.

Raueber supports calls to put in safeguards on local employment amid fears the liberalization will result to the influx of foreign workers in the construction sector House Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap, author House resolution No. 898, urged the appropriate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the desired economic policy direction of the Philippines with regard to foreign participation
in the ownership and operation of corporations and firms engaged in the business of construction of buildings and other infrastructure
in the Philippines.

But Lopez clarified large foreign contractors are allowed to participate in construction in the Philippines, even up to 100 percent for those with equity of PI billion or are introducing new and proprietary technology.

He said DTI which oversees PCAB is reviewing the regulations with the end in view of lowering the hurdle to allow medium­sized
contractors to take part in the construction industry in the country.

He hinted the possibility of setting the cap for foreign participation at P500 million but that this is still being discussed.

"We need to lower the hurdle to enhance the number (of contractors)," he said.

He said the country now has 10,000 contractors but only a few can be considered rated quadruple A.