(File photo)

MANILA – Partido Reporma standard bearer, Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, is hopeful that the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector can find potential business partners among foreign investors following the recent ratification of the amended Foreign Investments Act (FIA).

The presidential aspirant added that small business owners looking for sponsors who are willing to infuse some capital funding into their fledgling enterprises could capitalize on this opportunity.

The presidential candidate, however, underscored that terms and conditions still apply to any foreigner who wants to do business in the country, emphasizing that the interests of Filipino small business owners and MSME stakeholders must be protected by the state.

In-open up natin sa foreigners ‘yung mag-invest dito pero may safeguards ‘yon. Basta less than USD200,000 ang puhunan, protektado, hindi pwedeng pasukan ng foreign investors. ‘Yon ‘yung nasa micro and small (enterprises) (We opened up to foreigners the opportunity to invest here but it has safeguards. As long as the starting capital is USD200,000 and below, that is protected, no foreign investors can get involved. This covers the micro and small (enterprises)," Lacson said in a statement Tuesday.

Signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on March 2, Republic Act 11647 amended the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 and declared that it is a policy of the state to welcome foreign investments “as a supplement to Filipino capital and technology in those enterprises serving mainly the domestic market.”

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) lauded this development as it provides less stringent requirements for potential foreign investors to do business in the Philippines, which would hopefully accelerate our economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new law allows foreign investors to invest in a domestic enterprise unless the participation of foreigners is limited or prohibited to a smaller percentage.

It is expected to make the country more investment-friendly that could lead to more businesses opening up, creating more jobs in the process.

Lacson recognized that the MSME sector was badly hit during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and so it could use some investment boost, as stipulated under the amended legislation, on top of easing public health restrictions and reopening the economy.

PH democracy working

Lacson, meanwhile, said reports of retired military and police officers supporting another presidential candidate highlights the essence of a working democracy.

"That is the essence of democracy. Unlike under a communist regime where totalitarianism reigns, the system of government is centralized and dictatorial and mandates complete subservience to the state," he said in a Twitter post Monday night.

Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, added, that his candidacy is supported by more retired and active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and even the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

"By the way, I have more retired (and active) AFP, PCG and PNP officers and non-officers than all the other presidential candidates combined. I can’t have them all. Again, that is democracy," he added.

Lacson, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1971, is the current chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation. (PNA)