His Excellency, President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr.; fellow cabinet members; and our business partners from the U.S. and the Philippines—a pleasant morning to all.

As President Marcos has said recently, “We are currently on a steady path to a strong recovery from the pandemic and a robust economic expansion.” Vital to our country’s journey on this path is the effort to encourage businesses to invest in the Philippines. 

Our task in the government is to create the enabling conditions for the private sector, both local and international, as they inject dynamism into our country’s industrialization.  We are trying to shift the country from consumer-based growth to investment led government.

To a great extent, the United States has played an influential role in boosting business confidence in the Philippines. The economies of our two countries have strong and synergetic trade and investment relations. The US is our top export market and our 5th import supplier. Our trade in goods consists of high-technology commodities such as semiconductors, integrated circuits, and wiring harnesses, and others.

Moreover, the investments coming from the US for the 1st Semester of 2022 have been more diversified compared to the previous year. Approved US investments are in various sectors, such as information and communication, and manufacturing industries. 

In encouraging investments, we offer tier-specific incentives and consider flexible incentives for qualified investments. These investments range from essential goods and services, to more advanced activities such as those that fill our industrial value chain gaps, those pursuing research and development (R&D) and innovation-promoting enterprises. 

In line with our strategic investment priorities plan, we leverage on Industry 4.0 technologies and our existing industrial strengths and competencies to build a dynamic industry ecosystem. Our industrialization strategy focuses on four clusters:

The First is the Industrial, Manufacturing, and Transport cluster. This cluster creates investment opportunities in aerospace, automotive, and semiconductors, electronics.

Aerospace is one of the Philippines’ strong suits as the country hosts the number one aircraft interiors company in the world (Collins Aerospace) and the world’s leading aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul company (Lufthansa Technik). In August, we joined Lufthansa Technik’s inauguration of its expansion which brings its engineering and personnel complement to around 3,000.

As climate change prompts the shift to green products, such as electric vehicles, our country is keen to enter the global electric vehicle (EV) value chain. We welcome foreign investments that bring relevant EV technologies.    

Regarding semiconductors and electronics, we seek foreign investments that promote research and development to upgrade semiconductor and electronics manufacturing activities. 

The Second Industrial cluster is Technology, Media, and Telecommunications cluster. This cluster includes Information Technology – Business Process Management or IT-BPM, hyper-scale data centers, the digital economy activities, and products using AI. 

The next decade will witness the BPO industry segment as a competitive contributor to our participation in the global value chains of technology, media, and telecommunications cluster.

We are leveraging the fact that 82% of BPOs and shared services centers in the Philippines are serving the global markets. When it comes to the IT-BPM segment, we like investments that prioritize value addition over cost savings.

With the pandemic, interest in data centers has also increased globally. Our strong BPO record is drawing the attention of hyperscalers. We consider hyperscalers as an important engine of growth for our country.

Just last July, we launched the PLDT Jupiter Cable System. This cable system will serve as an added superhighway for digital data, attracting hyperscalers to the country. This system runs 14,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable connecting the Philippines to Japan and to the the US at the speed of 60 terabytes per second. 

The third cluster is the Health and Life Sciences cluster which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and digital health products and services.

Our goal is to make the Philippines self-sufficient in pharmaceuticals, as well as healthcare services and therapeutic systems as we continue and strengthen our collaborations with multinational pharmaceutical companies. 

Finally, the Modern Basic Needs and Resilient Economy cluster addresses the consumer needs of the Philippines for food, other consumer goods, energy, infrastructure, education and others. 

We promote sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economic growth through food security and the development of green ecosystems.

We believe that reliable infrastructure facilities will serve the needs of and attract businesses locating in the Philippines. Following the President’s directives, we shall build better and more infrastructure projects. 

Our focus on infrastructure development is essential to the economic transformation of the Philippines. Our thrust is designed to address transport and logistics constraints, energy supply shortages and costs and connectivity issues that stifle economic activities. 

We shall widen our network of national and local road infrastructure that connects our ecozones, trade centers, and manufacturing and logistics hubs. This direction promotes vibrant trade and investment and helps in balancing growth among our regions, urban centers, and rural communities.

As an example, we are stretching Manila’s direct catchment area for talent to support our advanced sectors. It is full speed ahead for the 147-kilometer commuter rail that will connect our technology industrial sites in CALABARZON south of Manila to Clark Airport north of Manila. Our big-ticket projects in the Visayas and Mindanao like the close to 74-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway and Iloilo-Capiz-Aklan Expressway remain priorities.

Digital connectivity is among our top priorities for economic transformation.  Recent joint efforts by both public and private sectors have led the Philippines to rank top 12 globally in terms of highest investments in telecommunications according to the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Digital Competitiveness Rankings 2021. A constant effort to sustain the development of the industry is needed for the Philippines to keep up with its regional peers.     

We have ongoing discussions for the entry into the Philippines of Starlink (operated by SpaceX).      

BOI has also registered milestone telecommunication infrastructure projects of U.S. companies such as SBA Towers and American Towers. We also provide support to companies such as Black and Veatch, IBM, and Digital Bridge.

A conducive and competitive business environment calls for innovation. Innovation helps increase productivity, develop new products and services, and spurs industrial growth.       

2022 will mark the take-off of the Philippines’ Artificial Intelligence Roadmap as we establish the Center for AI Research & Development and the Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory.

The AI research center represents our efforts to make the Philippines an AI Center of Excellence. The country already hosts more than 50 tech startups that use AI as their core technology.

With the support of the private sector, the Center will be a hub where data scientists and researchers can collaborate on AI R&D. This can produce AI products and services, and support our industries’ digital transformation.

Complementary to the AI Research Center is the Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory which will serve as a hub for cutting-edge solutions. It is a space where small businesses, researchers, and universities can learn robotics, automation, and smart factory operation. 

The Pilot Factory can also serve as a co-working space and prototyping sandbox. Our technology partner for this pilot factory is Siemens of Germany.

To diffuse innovation throughout the country and drive regional industrialization, we are establishing Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers that will lead stakeholders in the regions toward entrepreneurship and innovation.

Science, technology, and innovation will drive our efforts to build an inclusive and sustainable industrial-base supported by efficient and reliable infrastructure facilities.

Investors, particularly foreign investors, are key to accelerating economic development. I, therefore invite the US Business community to invest in our country. Let’s Make It Happen in the Philippines!

Thank you.

Date of Release: 22 September 2022