MORE INVESTMENTS. Investments into the Philippines rose 11 percent to PHP729 billion so far this year amidst the impact of the pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday (Dec. 21, 2022). For 2023, authorities are aiming for a PHP1 trillion worth of approved investments. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Placements in renewable energy (RE) provided a big boost to the 11 percent annual jump in Board of Investments' (BOI) approved investments so far this 2022 as they aim for PHP1 trillion worth of investments by 2023.

Data released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday showed that BOI-approved investments rose to around PHP729 billion so far this year from PHP655 billion in 2021.

Projected employment growth is around 454 percent to 260,000 from last year’s around 47,000.

“The 2022 BOI Approval levels clearly indicate that despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, especially in the first year of the year, coupled with global decline in investments due to the Russia-Ukraine war, investors continue to have strong confidence in the Philippine economy,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said in a briefing on Wednesday.

DTI, in a report, explained that BOI-registered projects rose in terms of capital but these are not necessarily labor intensive.

“But the impact on improvement of competitiveness will general additional investments, economic activity, and employment,” it said.

In terms of sectors, the power sector, particularly RE, posted a 56 percent annual rise by investment cost and was followed by the information and communications, particularly data centers and telecommunication towers, at 28 percent.

Others include the information technology – business process management (IT-BPM), manufacturing, and mass housing, and transportation and storage.

Investments also increased for projects related to electric vehicles (EVs) such as charging stations, lease of electric vehicles, and operation of electric vehicle transportation network vehicle services (TNVS).

Most of the investments to date came from Singapore, 57 percent; Japan, 22 percent; United Kingdom, 7 percent; US, 3 percent; US Virgin Islands, 2 percent; and South Korea, 2 percent.

Pascual said presidential visits to other countries at the start of the current administration’s term have “generated strong tangible interest particularly in the area of offshore wind power generation projects.”

“Investors welcomed the strong political will of the administration to push for RE, especially with the recent amendment by the DOE (Department of Energy) of the Renewable Energy Act IRR (implementing rules and regulations) to now allow for 100 percent foreign equity ownership of solar, wind, and tidal power projects,” he said.

He explained that investments in RE play an important role for the country “as we position the country as the regional hub for innovation and sustainability (that) drive manufacturing and services.”

“We provide the solution for companies who are actively looking for suitable locations that will help them achieve their net-zero carbon commitments,” he said.

He added that they have leads for possible investments that will take advantage of the full implementation of game-changing reforms related to public utilities, retail trade, and tech start-ups.

During the same briefing, Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said approved projects are “very strategic” and “are fully aligned” with the current Trade Department’s goals, which lean on sustainability that prioritizes digitalization and connectivity.

He said this is clearly seen in the clustering of projects in RE, data centers, telco towers, and EVs.

“Moving forward, as directed by the chair and Secretary (of DTI), we are targeting PHP1 trillion investments for 2023,” he said.

Rodolfo said the agency has strong leads for these, which got further lift from the economic missions of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to several countries. (PNA)