Businessmen cheer as gov’t welcomes foreign investors

Published September 23, 2022, 3:02 AM

by James A. Loyola

Business leaders and attendees to the Philippine Economic Briefing in New York cheered the steps being taken by Philippine government to welcome investments for nation-building from the private sector, both local and foreign.

“I think what was probably the most refreshing part of this whole event for me, is that in a world that’s turning increasingly inward, when there is a lot of talk about deglobalization going around… We’ve had a very refreshing, outward looking focus, and narrative coming today,” said JP Morgan Managing Director and EM Local Markets Strategist Saad Siddiqui.

He noted that, “We heard about rolling out the red carpet for foreign investors, the private sector is feeling the love from the government as well. And, at a time when state footprints are increasing, I think this emphasis on unleashing the private sector, welcoming foreign investors shows that there is still a path to prosperity via international cooperation.”

Jaime Zobel de Ayala, chairman Ayala Corporation

Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said “I think this government, the President, in particular, has been very supportive of private sector and public participation. This was less popular in the past.”

“The President’s very keen to get the private sector involved. And we’re delighted with that. So there’s a chance for private capital to support the public sector in many ways,” he added.

Citing the recovery of consumption and mobility to almost pre-pandemic levels, Zobel said “it’s an exciting time in the Philippines. And we look forward to continuing to invest.”

He also noted that, “never has there been a time that so much changes are taking place in the rules and regulations encouraging foreign investment… And public services is now open to the foreign investment community, either with Filipino partners or not.”

“It’s an exciting time, not just for private sector investment in the Philippines but for foreign investment as well… We’ve been strong on the consumption side, but we’re delighted to see the government paying attention as well, to anything that will attract foreign investment and certainly the rules and regulations are encouraging it,” said Zobel.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz

Aboitiz Group Chief Executive and Convenor of the Private Sector Advisory Council Sabin Aboitiz said “the most important thing is the atmosphere that we have today. It is an atmosphere that, for the private sector we feel the love from the President down all the way from the cabinet, because it’s real.”

He pointed out that, “The private sector is integrated into the plan of the President in the cabinet. We have meetings, every other Thursday set with the President and certain cabinet meetings in six different sectors.

“We discuss usually things that are not normally discussed. Things that that are practical, where we feel the government needs to hear from the private sector, things that they normally probably would not hear from the government itself.

“That atmosphere is very, very strong. And that is the most important thing that I would like to relate to the foreign investors. The private sector is taken very, very seriously as a partner,” Aboitiz said.