By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines has secured around USD23.6 billion in investment pledges after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. successfully wooed business leaders and investors in his foreign trips this year, Malacañang said on Friday.

Marcos, dubbed as a “traveling salesman,” was able to lure investors from Indonesia, Singapore, the United States, Cambodia and Thailand to do business in the country, Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said, citing the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) accomplishment report.

“According to DTI’s yearend report, President Marcos’ visits to Indonesia, Singapore, the United States, Cambodia, and Thailand brought billions of pesos in investments as the administration gears toward aggressively attracting more foreign businesses to come to the Philippines,” Garafil said.

The DTI report does not cover Marcos’ recent trip to Belgium where he participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union Summit.

Marcos, in his Dec. 15 speech after his Belgium trip, said the Philippines has acquired PHP9.8 billion worth of investment pledges from European business executives.

The DTI report contains the recent government export registered and generated investment leads, particularly with the department’s Board of Investments (BOI).

Garafil said the DTI report showed that the BOI and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) had a combined approved investment of PHP402 billion, which could generate around 54,217 jobs for Filipinos.

Under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, the BOI’s approved projects as of August 2022 stand at PHP46.7 billion, with the investment board also assisting 1,994 investors expressing intent to do business in the country.

“The BOI also generated 90 foreign investment leads with an estimated value of PHP204.9 billion which could entail 98,393 local jobs,” Garafil said.

“With the administration’s active export recovery efforts, the DTI reported USD17.7 billion of exports in services, up by 13.5 percent from the previous record. The country also posted USD58.3 billion exports in goods, which grew by 4.7 percent. The DTI said it assisted 3,922 exporters,” she added.

The country’s investment and exports are expected to rebound in 2023 as a result of the passage of the Public Service Act (PSA) and CREATE Act, Garafil said, echoing the DTI report.

The DTI’s yearend report also includes the approval of the 2022 Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP) and guideline issuance in August through Memorandum Circular No. 2022-07.

The SIPP was approved on May 24, 2022 through Memorandum Order No. 61.

Marcos has repeatedly vowed to make the Philippines an “investment destination,” expressing confidence that the country’s economic resurgence will give foreign investors a “favorable” business climate.

Marcos, in his meetings with foreign business leaders and investors during his foreign trips, has ensured that the Philippines is a “smart” investment choice. (PNA)