Great merchant of PHL investment opportunities

“I cannot see the Philippines in the future without having the United States as a partner.” With this statement at the New York Stock Exchange, President Marcos signaled his desire to strengthen the longstanding alliance between the Philippines and the US. Playing his role as merchant of Philippine investment opportunities, the Chief Executive explained how his administration is ramping up efforts to open the economy and accelerate post-pandemic recovery.

“Bouncing back from the pandemic, the Philippine economy has seen robust growth since last year and has returned to its path toward upper-middle-income country status, achievable within the next few years. In the near-term, our top priorities are protecting the purchasing power of families by managing inflation, reducing the scarring effects of the pandemic, and ensuring sound macroeconomic fundamentals,” the President said.

“Despite external headwinds, the Philippine economy’s resilience, reinforced by sound policies and decisive leadership, makes us confident about our future,” he said, as he invited American investors to help transform the pandemic-affected economy by investing in big-ticket projects. The US is the country’s third largest trading partner and second major source of foreign direct investment applications in 2021.

The Philippines has kept its sovereign credit rating intact throughout the pandemic, and doing business in the Philippines is an opportunity to reap the benefits of a vibrant economy, Marcos said. He enumerated some sectors that are open for American investments: Information technology and business process outsourcing; medical products and devices; electric vehicles and batteries; agribusiness; and telecommunications infrastructure and services.

The President described the country’s massive economic potential, saying the Philippines is one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies. It has the youngest population in Asia, which gives the country an advantage over other nations in the region; it offers a high-quality and English speaking labor force; a large consumer market; and a wide range of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

Now is the best time to invest in the Philippines, he said, citing the recent passage of laws that liberalized policies for foreign investments, including the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which lowered corporate income tax rates and rationalized fiscal incentives. The President said the government also reduced the minimum paid-up capital requirements for foreign retailers and foreign startups bringing in advanced technology, as well as allowed full foreign ownership of companies providing public services.

The lead convenor of the President’s Private Sector Advisory Council, Aboitiz Group CEO Sabin Aboitiz, backed the Chief Executive, telling American investors that the Philippines is the “right” investment destination. “Now, more than ever, with the dawn of a new era of digital progress, and an environment that has never been more enabling and conducive for business, the Philippines is ripe and open for investment,” Aboitiz said in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange.

“So, we are here today to support our President and his genuine efforts to revitalize (the Philippine-US) relationship. We support his efforts to assure you of the integrity, of the stability, and the solidarity of his administration and the Philippine economic system, which is not without wounds but neither without the determination to heal them,” he added. Aboitiz also expressed optimism that the Philippines will become the “next big thing in Asia,” given the current decisive and action-oriented leadership style of President Marcos.

The President earlier called on Filipinos living in the US and other nations to become “ambassadors” to help bring in more investments and tourists for the country’s economic recovery. He made the appeal while addressing the Filipino community at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center last Sunday. Over 1,500 Filipinos attended the event, which was the first of scheduled activities during his six-day visit in the US (Read, “PBBM urges overseas Pinoys to be the PHL’s ‘ambassadors,’” in the BusinessMirror, September 20, 2022).

“All of you… can do as much as our diplomats could by inviting your employers to visit the Philippines not just to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of our country and our people but also to explore possible trade investment opportunities there,” he said.

The President said they could also help the country by investing not only in properties, but also in local businesses. “This will all contribute to create much-needed jobs and build a better life for all our people. And if you know someone who is interested to open a business in the Philippines, let our embassies or our consulates know so we can pursue and finally close the deal. As I said, every little bit counts.”