Marcos vows to boost local markets, attract more FDIs

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Thursday told the business community that he would ensure the growth of local markets, as well as attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs).

Speaking at the annual business conference of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Mr. Marcos said he is committed to “foster a sound environment where businesses can flourish and continue to be a driver of our economic growth.”

“I reiterate my vision of improving our business climate and elevating the status of the Philippines as a top investment destination through various endeavors. As such, we continue to harmonize efforts of all investment promotion agencies, government agencies and local government units to effect greater synergies,” he said.

While the country wants to attract more foreign direct investments, Mr. Marcos said he wants to further develop the domestic market.

“However, what we sometimes have been missing and I think it is something we certainly recognize as a huge potential for the transformation of our economy is the development of our local markets. The Philippines now has a 107 million population more or less and that comprises a very large market that is undeveloped and with extremely good potential,” he said.

For the first seven months of the year, total FDI net inflows fell by 12% to $5.101 billion from a year ago, data from the central bank showed.

Mr. Marcos reiterated his commitment to developing the renewable energy (RE) sector in order to ensure the country has enough power supply and address high electricity rates that is one of the major concerns of investors.

To attract more foreign investors, he said the government is revising the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which expressly limits foreign investment in the sector to 40%.

“It is necessary that we make these changes because the technology for renewable energy has moved forward so quickly that we have to catch up with our regulations,” Mr. Marcos added.

Mr. Marcos also reiterated his push for more public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects as he encouraged local investors “to take part in the great enterprise of building our nation.”

“We will need to work together in coming up with more infrastructure projects, more energy projects, more projects for our MSMEs, more projects for agriculture. All that will empower and strengthen both our economy and our nation,” he said.

As of August, the country had a total of 74 PPP projects in the pipeline with a combined estimated cost of P2.25 trillion.”

Also, Mr. Marcos said the government would focus on the manufacturing sector, noting the Philippine economy has been heavily dependent on the services sector.

“The key, the driving force to begin all of this,” the president said, will be local investors and businesses “that come into partnership with the government to find the synergy that we all need.”

“You will be the main driver of our success as we emerge from the setbacks posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), the shocks that the world economy has suffered in the past few months,” Mr. Marcos said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza