Public Utility Law threat to national economy, security? 

Public Utility Law threat to national economy, security? 

November 26, 2022 @ 11:39 AM 2 months ago

THE United Filipino Consumers and Commuters has petitioned the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional the amended law on public utility which allows foreign ownership of airport and wireless broadband, among others, that threatens national economy and security.

UFCC president Rodolfo Javellana Jr. said his petition for certiorari and prohibition is challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act 11659, an Act Amending Commonwealth Act 146 otherwise known as the Public Service Act, which was enacted by Congress in 2021 and approved by then President Rodrigo Duterte the following year.

The respondents of the petition were Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

The law amendment has unconstitutionally overturned the “almost a hundred years of consistent jurisprudence by redefining a ‘public utility’ as used in the Constitution so that it refers only to electricity distribution and transmission, petroleum and petroleum products, pipeline transmission systems, water and wastewater pipeline distribution and sewerage systems, seaports and public utility vehicles,” he said.

“As it stands, airports, railroads, railways, sub-ways, wire or wireless telecommunication services and wire or wireless broadcasting stations are no longer considered as public utilities thereby achieving the illicit entry of foreign investors in the ownership and operations of these public utility companies,” Javellana stressed.

The UFCC head warned that if the law is not repealed, foreigners might end up having full control of public utility services which can be a threat to the country’s economy and security.

“Our country cannot afford to leave these public services in the hands of foreigners whose interest or agenda may be detrimental to national interests,” Javellana said.

Javellana said further that R.A. 11659 also violates the equal protection clause when it removed airports but maintained seaports as a public utility.

Aside from terrorism, Javellana said health risks associated with an unregulated entry of passengers and cargo from abroad as exemplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, is another national security risk.

“These are in addition to the usual concerns in airports as common entry points of smuggled goods, undesirable aliens, endangered animals or harmful plants, fruits and vegetables, etc.,” he added.

CORRECTION: In my last column article entitled: ‘Video clip shows ‘Dengvaxia’ victim’s harrowing experience’, I had inadvertently mentioned that she’s a victim of the anti-dengue vaccine, she was an alleged victim of Covid-19 vaccine instead. My apologies.