would help create jobs for locals as well as bring in technology and know-how from abroad.
In a statement, the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) expressed support for Senate Bill 2102, which amends the Foreign Investments Act.
JFC is comprised of several chambers of commerce, including the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean, as well as the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.
JFC argued the practice of profession by foreigners was not entirely prohibited under the Philippine Constitution. It said it was also not an investment activity and, therefore, should not be included in the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) or the list of activities that foreign entities are not allowed to do in the country.
“Although Section 14, Article XII states that ‘the practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens,’ this statement is immediately followed by ‘save in cases prescribed by law,’” JFC said.
“Considering that certain laws governing each profession allow foreign nationals to practice in the Philippines under reciprocity arrangements, it was extremely misleading to include such items in the FINL as a nationalized activity, as was done for many years,” the group added.
“Reciprocity” means allowing foreigners to practice their profession in the Philippines, provided their countries of origin also allow Filipinos to practice the same. The practice of law as well as radio and X-ray technology is limited to Philippine nationals.
“Because millions of Filipinos work abroad and support the Philippine economy with their remittances, it should be in the national interest to seek the reduction of restrictions on professionals in other countries as well as in the Philippines,” JFC said.
The group also said having more foreign professionals practicing in the Philippines could bring new skills, ideas, connections and integration into global networks of service providers, and support sunrise sectors like research and development, medical travel and retirement.
More foreign professionals practicing in the Philippines could also mean more jobs for Filipinos at home, JFC said.