MANILA – The Marcos administration is making the manufacturing sector innovative and sustainable in an effort to entice more foreign investors and make the Philippines a prime investment destination, a Trade official said on Saturday.
During the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, Lanie Dormiendo, director for the International Investments Promotion Service of the Board of Investments (BOI), said manufacturing is one of the priority sectors that the administration intends to develop.
“We are really aggressively promoting innovative and sustainable manufacturing and services,” Dormiendo said, noting that the government is putting a premium on “high-value” manufacturing activities such as electric vehicle (EV) assembly, battery manufacturing and mineral processing.
“We want to attract foreign investors to do a higher value activity to do mineral processing, and then attract battery manufacturers and eventually the EV assemblers and EV manufacturers,” she added.
Dormiendo said the country has “a lot of minerals” that can be processed to form part of batteries, not only for EVs but also for battery energy storage systems.
She also said the government wants to capitalize on the country’s available resources instead of exporting them to China and Japan as raw minerals.
In terms of sustainable infrastructure and services, the Marcos administration is “actively” promoting renewable energy (RE), Dormiendo said.
She noted that late last year, the Department of Energy amended the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act 9513, otherwise known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, to allow 100-percent foreign equity for a lot of RE sources including wind, solar and tidal.
She said the government also allows 100-percent foreign equity for geothermal and biomass, a move that encouraged more foreign and local investors to venture into RE.
“In fact, for the BOI-approved projects last year, RE projects accounted for a huge portion of our investment approvals,” she said. “For this year, we already registered more than PHP400 billion worth of investments and a large chunk of these investment approvals are also into renewable energy.”
Just six weeks into 2023, the total investment projects approved by the BOI already reached PHP414.3 billion, a 142.9-percent increase compared to the PHP170.5 billion recorded in the same period last year, according to data released on Saturday.
The RE or power sector remains dominant with PHP398.7 billion in approvals to date, up by 138 percent from PHP167.9 billion registered last year.
Manufacturing is also on the upswing with PHP12.3 billion in approvals, which is higher by 13,982 percent than the mere PHP87 million in the same time frame in 2022.
Addressing investors’ concerns
Meanwhile, Vichael Angelo Roaring, officer-in-charge of the Department of Trade and Industry-Foreign Trade Service Corps, said the agency would act on the concerns of the investors.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. previously gave an instruction to carry out an “all-of-government” approach in addressing the challenges besetting the business sector.
“Malinaw po ang instruction ng Presidente (The President’s instruction is clear). He wants an all-of-government approach in addressing the 'pain points,’ ‘yung ano ba ‘yung challenges ng mga namumuhunan sa Pilipinas (the challenges being faced by the investors in the Philippines),” Roaring said.
The government aims to make the Philippines more attractive as a source of investments and as a trading partner in the region, according to Roaring.
In his recent trip to Japan, Marcos assured foreign investors of “continued and smooth” operations in the Philippines. (PNA)