Trade Secretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman Ramon Lopez said investors continue to be optimistic and confident in their business operations in the country, as projects registered with the agency in the first quarter of the year grew to 122, or an increase of 67 percent from the 72 projects registered in the same period in 2016.

These projects are expected to generate 36,115 new jobs once operational—an increase of 181 percent over the 12,841 employment generated in the first quarter of last year.

“These positive developments clearly indicates the continuously growing investor confidence in the country’s sound economic policies, macroeconomic fundamentals, and attractive business environment,” said Secretary Lopez.

“What further makes the Philippines attractive are plans of the administration to ramp up infrastructure spending that is seen to increase economic activities, the country’s demographic dividend and high-skilled, fast-learner workforce, and the strategic location of the country, which can serve as a gateway to the rest of the global market,” he said.

“We are prioritizing the promotion of quality investment projects which is defined in terms of the number of jobs to be generated, its social relevance, and impact to the quality of life our countrymen, as in the case of mass housing,” said Secretary Lopez.

Agriculture-related projects will create some 6,884 in new jobs while investment projects in housing and construction will create around 24,367 in new jobs, a 145 percent increase in jobs generated from the projects registered in the sector from January to March 2016. Jobs to be created from manufacturing-related projects also increased by 171 percent, from 1,123 from January to March 2016 to 3,038 in new jobs for the same period this year. Employment is highest in food manufacturing projects with 2,306 in new jobs to be created, a 206 percent increase from the 754 in new jobs created last year.

The value of investment projects in the first three months of the year totaled PhP67.973 Billion, increasing by 10 percent the PhP61.938 Billion recorded in the same period last year.

The increase in value of investments was attributed mainly to the approval of real estate (housing and construction) projects with a combined investment amount of PhP44.364 Billion, followed by manufacturing projects with PhP15.425 Billion, energy and power projects with PhP4.498 Billion, and transportation and storage projects with PhP2.246 Billion.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo meanwhile said the BOI is seeing a bullish first full-year local and foreign investment inflow with growth forecast of 13.7 percent to P500 billion from P441 billion achieved in 2016.

He said that the agency is eyeing one of its highest investment registration level to mark its 50th Founding Year, hence “P500 billion for BOI@50”.

With the swift and early approval of the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP) which was designed to spread the benefits of the country’s fast economic growth to the countryside with emphasis on a broader segment of the manufacturing sector, innovation-driven, and job-generating businesses, Undersecretary Rodolfo said the BOI sees a robust growth of manufacturing investment projects this year.

The manufacturing sector generated a total of PhP49 billion investments in 2016 or 11 percent of total investments last year. In the first quarter of the year, the sector recorded an impressive 222.92 percent growth with investment projects amounting to PhP15.425 Billion from only PhP4.776 Billion recorded in the same period last year. Investments in the sector is expected to generate at least 3,038 in new jobs once these business projects are operational.

“The continued growth of the manufacturing industry is a clear indication of the efforts to boost growth of the sector through the Manufacturing Resurgence Program,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said adding that the revival of the manufacturing sector is key to inclusive economic growth because it will generate much-needed employment and help the country tap regional production networks.

In terms of geographic distribution, Region 4A shared the largest amount of investment projects with PhP29.104 Billion, followed by the National Capital Region with PhP26.509 Billion, Region 3 with PhP4.630 Billion, Region 11 with PhP2.438 Billion, and Region 1 with PhP1.922 Billion. The rest of the regions meanwhile shared the balance of the total investment amount.