By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

BUSINESS PROSPECTS. (From left) Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Perry Rodolfo, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. media committee chair Wilson Lee Flores, University of Santo Tomas professor and political analyst Dr. Froilan Calilung, Philippine Travel Agencies Association’s Bing Almanzor Sadol, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Zam Ampatuan and International Chamber of Commerce Philippines director general Jesus Varela at the Saturday News Forum at Dapo Restaurant and Bar in Quezon City on Saturday (Feb. 11, 2023), with moderator Butch Hilario (rightmost). The guests tackled the gains from the Japan trip of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in terms of trade, tourism and increasing yield and productivity in agriculture. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald Alfiler)

MANILA – The Marcos administration is on the right track to position the Philippines as an ideal investment destination, the International Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ICC) said Saturday.

Sustained engagement with global economies will reap the harvest for Filipinos, according to Jesus Varela, director general of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Philippines, during the Saturday News Forum at the Dapo restaurant in Quezon City.

“Less than a year in office, the PBBM administration appears to be on the right track in putting the Philippines from the periphery to the center of stage of business, trade and even geopolitics,” he said.

The executive said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s working trips overseas, specifically his visit to Tokyo which will end Sunday, enhance the possibility of securing more projects between foreign and Philippine companies.

“[W]hat is intent now is where the expansion and diversification of Japanese business here in the Philippines. And these visits, you know, would definitely provide the necessary confidence building and rekindling of relationships between our countries,” he said.

The ICC Philippines, he said, had been receiving proposals in the field of wastewater management, health care, biofuel, marine mineral processing and technology, among others.

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo earlier projected the investment pledges from Marcos’ Japan trip to reach about USD10 billion.

“As I see it, from our very own, from the ICC Philippines, nakakakita na kami ng mga ma-ikakasa na milyun-milyon (we see deals reaching several millions) that will be dealt by medium enterprises, the LGUs (local government units) and Japan,” Varela said.

From January to Feb. 9, the Board of Investments had already registered PHP414 billion worth of investments from local and foreign sources.

Apart from foreign trips, Marcos’ general “friend to all and an enemy to none” foreign policy also bodes well for the economy, said Varela.

He noted, however, that Marcos must exercise the leadership he showed at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and expertly navigate Manila amid competitions between superpowers in the region. (PNA)