Econ team to Singaporean investors: PH to be more business-friendly

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The Marcos administration’s economic team committed to establish a more business-friendly environment for investors during a Philippine Economic Briefing alongside President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s official state visit to Singapore.

Speaking before the Singaporean and international business community, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno wooed investors to do business in the Philippines, reaffirming the two countries’ strong and enduring ties in trade, commerce, and development.

“As we rebuild our economy and gun for rapid, broad-based growth in the next six years, we have opened our doors even wider for mutually beneficial investments. This is why we believe that this is the best time to do business in the Philippines,” said Secretary Diokno.

President Marcos, Jr. and his economic team arrived in Singapore on Tuesday (September 6) for the second leg of his inaugural state visits.

The President’s two-day state visit to Singapore kicked off with a meeting with the Filipino community at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Ho Bee Auditorium.

On Wednesday, President Marcos, Jr. and First Lady Marie Louise “Liza” Araneta Marcos joined Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and wife Madam Ho Ching for breakfast at the Shangri-La Hotel before proceeding to Singapore Botanic Gardens, where they were presented with a new orchid hybrid – Dendrobium Ferdinand Louise Marcos – named in their honor.

After the orchid naming ceremony, President Marcos, Jr. headed to Istana Palace for bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Loong and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob.

President Marcos, Jr. said that his state visit to Singapore aims to fully maximize trade and economic cooperation between Singapore and the Philippines.

He said that Singapore was already the Philippines’ highest investor in 2021 with Singaporean companies investing in big ticket projects in telecommunications, infrastructure, start-up and innovation, renewable energy, and healthcare.

Secretary Diokno said that the Marcos administration will continue to build a robust economy for a faster, greener, and more inclusive growth.

“Our economic prospects are bright and promising. In the second quarter of this year, the economy grew by 7.4 percent. The expansion was broad-based, with positive contributions from all three major sectors – agriculture, industry, and services,” said Secretary Diokno.

Secretary Diokno said that the country’s GDP growth is an important achievement given ongoing risks posed by rising commodity prices and current geopolitical tensions.

He also cited increasing investor confidence with the Philippines’ foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows reaching a record USD10.5 billion in 2021 and US4.2 billion for the first five months of 2022.

Secretary Diokno told business leaders in Singapore that the Marcos administration will maintain high investments in infrastructure equivalent to 5 to 6 percent of GDP annually, including the expansion of the Philippine’s digital infrastructure to quicken the country’s shift to the digital economy.

He said that the government will harness the public-private partnership mechanism to welcome impactful projects consistent with the country’s development goals.

He also cited game-changing economic reforms that make doing business in the Philippines more friendly. These include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE, and the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Public Service Act.

“The historic passage of our economic liberalization measures widens the space for international firms to invest in previously protected sectors and form joint ventures with Filipino companies,” said Secretary Diokno.

Singapore has been the Philippines’ top source of foreign direct investments and sixth largest trading partner.

With an estimate of 200,000 OFWs living and working in Singapore — 58% of whom are registered as professionals and skilled workers, while 42% are employed as household service workers — Singapore was the second largest source of overseas Filipino remittances worldwide for the year 2021 that amounted to USD2.20 billion.

“We face the next six years with full confidence in our bold socioeconomic agenda. With capable leaders at the forefront of a robust economic plan, the Philippines is poised for a bright economic future. We are committed to turning this vision into a reality for the Filipino people,” said Secretary Diokno.