Marcos courts American businesses: PH is ready to explore new horizons with you

At a glance

  • In a speech at the 4th Philippine Economic Briefing in the US, President Marcos highlighted the changes in the country's policies— resulting from stakeholders' suggestions— to reintroduce the Philippines as an investment hub in Asia.

President Marcos said the Philippines is ready to explore new horizons with American businesses as he wooed them to invest in the country by highlighting investor-friendly reforms and a sound economic position.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (RTVM screenshot)
President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (RTVM screenshot)

Marcos said this as he spoke at the 12th International Philippine Economic Briefing in San Francisco on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16 (Manila time).

In his speech, the President confidently welcomed potential investors to the country.

"With a solid reform agenda and non-abating growth amid headways, the Philippines is ready to take off as a leading investment hub in Asia," he said.

"A welcome opportunity awaits you in the Philippines, and we are ready to explore new horizons with your investments in the coming years," he added.


Economic transformation

Marcos said that over the past year, the Philippines embarked on a journey toward economic transformation grounded on sound macroeconomic fundamentals, a favorable business climate, and agile risk management.

"More than one year on, in an uncertain global environment beset by slower growth, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical tensions, the Philippines has continued to rise above the tide," he said, citing the country's growth at 5.5 percent in the first three quarters of the year.

"This is the fastest growth amongst major economies in Asia, outpacing Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Malaysia. We are confident that the country will post a full-year economic growth this close to the 6-7 percent target for 2023," he added.

President Marcos likewise touted the country's strong labor market, particularly the consistently low levels of unemployment and improving quality of employment and underemployment.

Marcos noted how the October 2023 inflation slowed to 4.9 percent from a frighteningly high 6.1 percent in September.

"We are committed to arresting inflation and maintaining overall price stability through supply-side interventions and demand-side management measures," he said.


Favorable business environment

According to Marcos, his administration has put a favorable business environment at the center of its thrust to promote high-value investments. He added that his government is committed to purposeful economic policy-making and planning reforms.

With the amendments made to the Public Service Act, the Foreign Investments Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the CREATE Act, and the Renewable Energy Act, the Chief Executive said he expects an influx of highly desirable investments in strategic sectors of the economy.

"We rapidly reformed that country's private-public partnership framework to simplify the approval processes, ensure the viability and bankability of PPP projects to cut red tape, and pave the way for quality infrastructure development," Marcos said.

"These reforms the Philippines' massive infrastructure drive. We are prioritizing the implementation of 197 infrastructure flagship projects worth around $155 billion with a sharp focus on upgrading physical and digital connectivity, water, agriculture, health, transport, and energy," he added.


Tech investments

President Marcos highlighted investments in rural areas and highly advanced technology and technology-enabled projects and activities. He said these are given top priority and consequently greater and longer incentives.

"Investments in the digital space are also highly prioritized. Incentives are given to projects covering research and development and those adopting advanced digital productions and technology such as, for example, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, data analytics, cloud computing, and nanotechnology," he said.

"These are complemented by responsive refinements in policies that promote private sector participation in key sectors even as we pursue legislative measures," he added.


Maharlika Investment Fund

In addition, President Marcos mentioned how his administration was looking forward to operationalizing the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), the country's first-ever sovereign investment fund.

"It will serve as an additional source and mode of financing for priority projects of the government, including infrastructure flagship," he said.

"These projects offer high rates of return and significant social economic impact," he added.

Currently, the Marcos government has identified about 80 potential infrastructure projects that are financeable through that fund.