The “Make it Happen in the Philippines”, the new international investments promotion campaign of the Philippines, soft-launches in the Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) Region yesterday (28 October 2020), highlighting the lucrative business and investment opportunities in the country and its resilience as the country continues to bounce back from the global pandemic. 

Philippine Trade Minister and Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman Ramon Lopez led the virtual soft launch along with Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega and Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Jesus S. Domingo. Australian firms operating in the Philippines Acquire BPO and TMA Group of Companies Ltd. as represented by their Chief Executive Officers meanwhile gave testimonials on how they made it happen in the Philippines. 

“Despite the setbacks and challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Philippines still remains a conducive place to do business. We are considered one of the top emerging economies and countries for investments,” said Minister Lopez. 

The Economist magazine ranked the country as the 6th emerging economy with high financial strength. CEOWorld Magazine meanwhile placed the Philippines among the top 10 countries to invest in post-COVID era. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have already predicted a V-shaped economic recovery for the country, with forecasts of 6.2 percent to 6.8 percent respectively by 2021. 

In his key message, Secretary Lopez presented the country’s new industrial strategy and international marketing campaign that is expected to boost the expected turnaround of the economy from the effects of the pandemic. 

“The way forward for us is to build back better and to stay the course to have a better future for our country. Our goal is to have a modern, dynamic, and responsible Philippines. This is what our new industrial strategy is all about: the REBUILD PH or ‘Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand’. This strategy aims to jumpstart and reinvigorate the economy by revitalizing consumption and enhancing production capacity,” he said. 

He also highlighted some of the sectoral opportunities in the country’s priority investment areas such as electronics, aerospace, automotive, IT-BPM, and copper. 

“We are confident that our new ‘Make it Happen in the Philippines’ campaign will promote our country’s ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ and ‘make-it-work’ mindset. This attitude is what makes the Philippines a unique and attractive investment landscape for strategic sectors in the ASEAN region for foreign investors. Even as we push the Philippines’ recovery against COVID-19, we are committed to continuing our country’s economic growth story. That is why we call on our Australian and New Zealand friends to take a closer look at how you can partner with the Philippines. You will see how we can ably support your business expansions plans, and provide you with a deeper insight on how to ‘Make it Happen in the Philippines’,” he concluded. 

Ambassador De La Vega meanwhile said that the manufacturing strategy of Australia aligns with the Philippine key industries such as auto, aerospace, electronics, IT-BPO, and copper/nickel. She also mentioned that the IT-BPM and creatives sectors continue to be a bright spot. “Digital is the way to go and a globalized workforce is crucial. We invite our Australian friends to make it happen in the Philippines and make it happen now,” she said. 

“Among Kiwi investors, I see further investments in IT, BPOs, food, and agribusiness. This can run parallel to our efforts to maintain and further professionalize our human resources and trade services with New Zealand. Let us leverage NZ’s hosting of APEC next year which will be largely online. We pledge our support to this dynamic new initiative to track Kiwi, Aussie, pacific and global investments in our country,” Ambassador Domingo added. 

Acquire BPO CEO Scott Stavretis said his company has around 7,000 employees in the Philippines spread across 10 locations and caters to 100 plus global clients. Their services include customer service, sales, technical support, retention campaigns, back-office functions, software development, and marketing services for private and publicly-listed companies around the world. 

TMA Group CEO Anthony Karam narrated how his firm won in 2009 a 25-year Joint Venture (JV) pact with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to establish the first Thermal Coating Plant in the Philippines. To date, TMA has invested Php4.4 billion in its facility in Laguna and upon full maturity of its operations, it will employ around 1,500 personnel. Both companies attested to the skillsets and resiliency of their Filipino employees as crucial in their expansion and success by sustaining operations amid the pandemic as they easily adapt to the new normal. 

The ‘Make It Happen in the Philippines’ campaign is the unified country branding campaign of the Philippines’ investment promotion agencies in promoting the country as an investment destination. “This is the first time that the Philippines have a sustained multisector, multimarket campaign primarily designed to generate investments,” said Minister Lopez. 

The Philippine BOI, the government’s lead industry and investment promotion agency developed the new international investment promotion campaign in partnership with the United Kingdom Government under the Investments Promotion Program. 

The campaign’s virtual soft launch in Australia and New Zealand was jointly organized by the Philippine BOI and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center Sydney, the Department of Trade and Industry’s overseas office in ANZ.♦

Date of Release: 4 November 2020