By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

GREEN LANE SERVICES. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday (July 13, 2023) leads the launching of green lanes for strategic investments in a ceremony held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City. (Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday expressed optimism that his administration would realize its goal of transforming the Philippines into an “attractive and competent” business hub.

“We envision a future where the Philippines becomes an attractive and competitive hub for business ventures, where enterprises flourish and thrive, and where opportunities await every investor for every Filipino,” Marcos said during the launching of green lanes for strategic investments at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

Marcos said the establishment of green lanes for strategic investments marks a significant milestone in the country’s journey toward economic prosperity.

The green lane services were created by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 18 issued on Feb. 23 in an effort to attract more investments.

With a goal of making the Philippines a “top investment destination,” EO 18 aims to simplify procedures and trim bureaucratic layers to ensure ease of doing business in the country, Marcos said.

“That’s why we have undertaken this measure under EO 18, because this will not only strengthen market competition and reduce barriers to investment but will also serve as a beacon for progress for businesses and for every Filipino guiding us towards a future of growth, opportunity and success,” he said.

‘Long overdue’ reforms

Marcos said the reforms to create an environment that is conducive to business growth and development are “long overdue.”

He said the initiatives undertaken by his administration would improve the investment climate in the Philippines and enable the country to compete globally “on an even basis.”

“We cannot continue to hide behind protectionist laws and protectionist policies because no country ever got wealthy by following a protectionist policy. The wealth of the nation is defined by the amount of trade that it has gone. We can look back many centuries, and it has always been trade that has been the key to the wealth of any nation, of any economic system,” Marcos said.

“It is a continuing application of the principle of whole-of-government response to the continuing challenge of dismantling the obstacles faced by investors whenever they decide to do business here in. our country,” he added.

Streamlined processes

Acknowledging the sentiments of investors and entrepreneurs in the country, Marcos ensured that his administration is committed to making government transactions and processes “efficient, transparent and responsive to the needs of these potential investors.”

Marcos noted that the Board of Investments has partnered with 36 agencies to fast-track the approvals of permits and the resolution of concerns, particularly for identified strategic investments.

“We will continue to closely monitor the performance of these processes in order to track our progress and our identity and we will see the areas for continuous improvement, even as we continue to pursue other projects and endeavors that will make the Philippines even more fertile ground for investments,” he said.

“I am confident that the green lanes will pave the way for the realization of many pledges that we have had, including those that I have personally received abroad, ensuring that they will bear fruit for our people and our nation,” Marcos added.

The event showcased the awarding of the first Certificate of Endorsement to SunAsia Energy, Inc. and Singapore-based BlueLeaf Macquarie Capital for the construction of the 1,300-megawatt floating solar project at the Laguna Lake with a total investment of USD1.2 billion.

SunAsia, a leading developer of clean and renewable solar energy in the Philippines, in partnership with BlueLeaf and Macquarie Capital, had initially expressed their investment commitment to Marcos during his state visit to Singapore in 2022.

Since then, SunAsia applied 10 of its projects as Strategic Investment under EO 18 and availed of the green lane services to expedite the permitting and licensing processes. (PNA)