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OSG asks SC to reverse decision allowing foreign contractors to work in private, gov’t projects

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has asked the Supreme Court to reverse its decision which allows foreign contractors to obtain licenses and participate in government or private projects in the country.

In a statement on Sunday, the OSG said that it filed a 29-page motion for reconsideration, where it argued that the limitations on the participation of foreigners in the contracting industry must be retained “to protect the interests of Filipino contractors and workers.”

The motion was signed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, Assistant Solicitor General Ma. Antonia Edita Dizon and State Solicitor II Perfecto Adelfo Chua Chen.

“Allowing the issuance of regular license to foreign contractors would result to unbridled influx of foreign contractors to the detriment of local contractors in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including the concerned professionals and Filipino workers, among others,” the OSG said in the motion, which was filed on behalf of the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB).

The motion comes after the High Court, in a decision promulgated March 10 but released only on Aug. 26, upheld a lower court resolution that declared void a provision of Republic Act 4566 or the  Contractors Licensing Law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), which classifies the licenses that may be issued by the PCAB  to contractors into regular and special license.

Under Section 3.1 of the IRR, companies with at least 60 percent Filipino equity participation can be granted a regular license, which gives them continuing authority to engage in many contracting activities throughout a one-year period. Foreign firms can only be granted a special license, and they need to have a separate license for each contracting activity.

This regulation, according to the SC, is “a deterrent to the foreign players in the construction industry.”

According to the OSG, the

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SolGen asks SC to reverse decision favoring foreign contractors



logo: Office of the Solicitor General


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Office of the Solicitor General

The Office of the Solicitor General is asking the Supreme Court to reverse its decision that allows foreign construction firms to secure regular Philippine licenses.

In a 29-page motion for reconsideration, the OSG argued that limitations on foreign participation in the contracting industry should be upheld to protect the interests of Filipino contractors and workers.

“Allowing the issuance of regular license to foreign contractors would result [in] unbridled influx of foreign contractors to the detriment of local contractors in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including the concerned professionals and Filipino workers, among others,” the OSG said in its motion.

OSG’s motion was signed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, Assistant Solicitor General Ma. Antonia Edita Dizon, and State Solicitor II Perfecto Adelfo Chua Cheng. It was filed on behalf of the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB).

The motion comes as the Supreme Court, in a decision promulgated March 10, upheld a lower court resolution that voided the Section 3, Rule 3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act. 4566.

Under this, companies with at least 60% Filipino can be granted a regular license, while foreign firms can only be granted a special license which is needed for each contracting activity.

According to the OSG, the IRR already allows foreign firms to have “regular license with annotation,” provided they have a capitalization of at least P1 billion.

“Should the assailed provision in the IRR be nullified, the easier entry of foreign contractors will allow foreign contractors to compete with local MSME contractors in relatively similar projects,” said the OSG.

Citing data from the PCAB, the OSG said a total of 12,931 special licenses were issued from July 2015 to December 2019.

Out of the total, 12,448 were issued for joint ventures

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Foreign Hacker Sentenced in $1M Scam Targeting Federal Employees and Contractors

A foreign national charged with setting up fake government websites, hacking federal employees’ emails and defrauding agency contractors of almost $1 million has been sentenced to a year and a half in prison.

According to federal investigators, Olumide Ogunremi, 43, a citizen of Nigeria who also goes by the name Tony Williams, was part of a criminal ring that used phishing emails and counterfeit websites to trick federal employees into giving up their digital credentials, which were then used to buy goods to sell on the black market.

In the latter half of 2013, Ogunremi and his co-conspirators sent phishing emails to employees at several federal agencies directing them to fake websites, “including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” according to a Justice Department release.

“Unwitting employees of the agencies visited the fake web pages and provided their email account usernames and passwords,” Justice officials said.

The group then used those valid credentials to place orders—mostly for printer toner cartridges—with vendors contracted through the General Services Administration. The commercial goods were then shipped to scammers’ addresses in New Jersey before being repackaged and sent to Nigeria to be sold through underground markets.

The scheme netted almost $1 million in stolen office products before being shut down, according to prosecutors.

Inspectors general from several agencies contributed to the investigation, including EPA, GSA and the Commerce Department, as well as investigators with the Defense Department’s Cyber Field Office and the FBI.

Ogunremi was originally set to plead guilty to the wire fraud charges in March 2018 but fled to Canada prior to a court appearance. He was extradited from Canada and returned to the U.S. in September 2019 to stand trial.

Last week, Ogunremi was ordered to pay $68,618 in restitution and sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by two years of

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DTI seeks capital limit on foreign contractors’ entry in PH

The Department of Trade and Industry  (DTI) is strongly batting for a limit on the capital requirement for foreign contractors to protect the small and medium contractors.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez stressed this during the Senate budget hearing when asked on the impact on small Filipino contractors the Supreme Court’s ruling liberalizing the entry of foreign-owned firms in the construction services sector in the country.

“If we can put a threshold for a certain level reserved for Filipinos,” said Lopez. He said that companies with capitalization of up to P100 million are defined as medium and those with higher capitalization are considered large.

“Offhand that should be a threshold, but large firms obviously be open for competition,” he said. He added that putting a threshold also protects local firms dealing with small foreign contractors as it would be difficult to run after foreign firms for liability issues and other problems that may arise in the future.

Lopez explained that being the country’s premier investment promotion agency, the opening of the construction services sector would be a welcome development as it should spur foreign investments  in the construction services sector.

But he also stressed the need to protect and develop the capability of local construction services firms who may be displaced because foreign firms are more capable and competitive.

Thus, DTI is supporting a move by the private construction industry and the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) to appeal the SC decision.

As the country’s competitive watchdog, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) lauded the SC decision, declaring certain anti-competitive regulations implementing the Contractors’ License Law unconstitutional. It said the decision paves the way for a level playing field for local and foreign firms to undertake construction activities in the Philippines.

PCC Chairperson Arsenio Balisacan cited that with the

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