By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Investment pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s primary industry development and lead investment promotion agency, grew 19.3 percent in the first nine months of the year on huge investments from the power, transportation and logistics sectors.
In a report, the BOI said that approved investments in the January-September this year reached P454.8 billion from P381.2 billion in the same period last year.
Big ticket items approved by the agency include Pulangi Hydro Power Corp.’s P38 billion project for a 250 MW Hydroelectric Power Plant in Bukidnon.
The BOI also approved Petron Corporation’s Php82 billion investment in the Condensate Processing Complex Project in its refinery in Limay, Bataan and the P62.6 billion Liquefied National Gas (LNG) terminal project of FGEN LNG Corporation in Batangas City with a capacity of 5 million tons per year.
Other manufacturing projects at the forefront include the P1.8 billion investment of Bio Renewable Energy Ventures in producing coconut methyl ester (CME) and glycerin in Misamis Oriental, the P151 million project of Biotech Farms, Inc. for the production of fiber egg trays in South Cotabato and Conibo Organics, Inc.’s Php60 million project as a new export producer of coconut noir in Camarines Sur.
From the transportation and Logistics was propelled by the acquisition of Philippine Airlines, Inc. of six Airbus A321neo aircraft worth Php19 billion to service international routes and the P11.8 billion investment of Cebu Air, Inc. in buying five Airbus A321ceo units to fly local and international routes under its Cebu Pacific brand.
Other projects giving the sector further boost are the six projects of domestic shipping operator Shogun Ships Co. Inc. worth a total Php2.2 billion covering four passenger and cargo vessels with 1,021 gross tonnage (GT) each, a 1211 GT tanker and a 55GT small passenger ship to service routes in Sorsogon, Samar and Masbate. Southwest Gallant Ferries Inc. is also going to operate a P750 million 2,944 GT passenger ship to service the Batangas-Caticlan routes. VS Grand Ferries Corporation is also scheduled to inaugurate a P208 million high-speed 281 GT Catamaran passenger vessel to service the Samar and Cebu routes this month.
New hospitals emerge while others expand on the back of strong wellness demand in the provinces. Allegiant Regional Care Hospitals, Inc.’s new P710 million Level 2 facility in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu is slated to operate this month with a staff of 375 while Allied Car Experts (ACE) Medical Center’s new Php1 billion level 2 hospital in Bohol is scheduled to open in November 2018 with a manpower of 364. Healthcaremax Inc.’s P658 level 2 hospital unit in Batangas will also open this month with 370 personnel.
Meanwhile, Good Shepherd Hospital is investing PhpPhp362 million to expand its hospital in Panabo City, Davao del Norte as commercial operation will begin January 2019 with an additional 191 personnel.
Among the regions, Central Luzon (Region III) has remained on top with Php163 billion in investment approvals as of September. Calabarzon (Region IV-A) was runner up with Php126.3 billion and NCR (National Capital Region) ranking third with P61 billion. Region X-Northern Mindanao (Php40 billion) and Region XI-Davao Region (P14.3 billion) rounded out the top five.
The British Virgin Islands was the top foreign investor so far with P15.2 billion, followed by Indonesia (P6.4 billion), Malaysia (P2.9 billion.), Japan (P2.6 billion), and China (P1 billion).
“Investor confidence in the country remains high. The Philippines continues to attract more investments because the economy is strong enough to withstand challenges on both the domestic and international fronts,” Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez said. He said that with the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the expanded Ease of Doing Business Act soon to be out and the roadshows of the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan (SIPP) already in full swing, the government will able to sustain its gains as “we continue to enact the necessary reforms and programs that would further ease business processes and make business more efficient which creates more jobs for our countrymen.”
“After the record-breaking investment approval figure of Php617 billion in 2017, the agency is still pretty confident of hitting its investment target of Php680 billion for this year. As of September, we are already surpassing expectations with already two-thirds of our year-end target and the rest of the year should be pretty exciting and challenging due to the deluge of big projects in the pipeline. We are just exercising due diligence to ensure that these projects comply with the necessary requirements,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.