Binay renews call to ease foreign investment rules

Posted at 05/19/14 3:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay, a candidate for the presidency in 2016, reiterated his call to relax foreign investment rules, while touting his accomplishments as mayor of Makati.

"I feel strongly we must review foreign investment laws," Binay said at the FT-FMIC Philippines Investment Summit. "The goal is to liberalize the entry of foreign investment."

Binay's advocacy pits him against President Benigno Aquino, who has said more than 90 percent of the economy is open, and amending the Constitution to open it even more would use up "political capital" that could be used on other priorities.

Binay also called for speeding up public-private partnerships (PPP) in infrastructure, "particularly in transportation."

He also said the government needs to "revisit" the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). This is needed to "unlock investment" especially in power-short Mindanao.

Binay told the audience that while Makati was already home to the country's richest people and biggest companies when he became mayor in 1986, it also had some of the capital's poorest communities.

He said he took steps to spread the wealth. He said he did so even if he only raised taxes once.