Retail Trade Liberalization, HGC Bills Signed into Law
President Estrada signed into law yesterday two important pieces of legislation - the Retail Trade Liberalization Law and the Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) Act of 2000 - both aimed at enhancing economic activities in the country and giving ordinary Filipinos a better life.
In his speech at the signing ceremonies held at Malacanang's Ceremonial Hall, President Estrada said the passage of the two measures shows Congress' commitment to help in nation building, especially as the country now faces challenges posed by globalization.
The new Retail Trade Liberalization Law, Republic Act 8762, allows competition among large retailers, local and foreign, which is expected to result in lower prices and better services to the consuming public.
"Because of the law, there will now be more opportunities to showcase our very own excellent products, side by side with the world's best," the President said.
He also noted that the law has put in place safeguards to protect small Filipino retailers, particularly sari-sari store owners and small food outlets.
The Chief Executive explained that the new retail law will enable the country to survive or even benefit from globalization. He said: "As we all know, globalization is upon us. We cannot afford to weaken ourselves. We cannot afford to isolate ourselves. We cannot afford to stay divided as a people in the midst of economic competition among nations," he said.
According to the President, safety nets were put in place by imposing a very high ceiling of capitalization for foreign retailers who want to engage in retailing in the Philippines.
Under the law, a foreign retailer must meet four qualifications before engaging in business in the country, including a minimum net worth of its parent company of between $50 to $200 million, depending on the category of business. …