20 October 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

TRADE Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and a Philippine infrastructure development team composed of top government officials have discussed with high-level representatives of British companies several Philippine infrastructure investment opportunities, as well as the Philippine government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

The Philippine delegation include Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar and Bases and Conversion Development Authority President and CEO Vivencio Dizon.

During the “Investing in Philippine Infrastructure” forum organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center  in London, United Kingdom, on September 26, 2018, infrastructure complementarities focusing on engineering and design, as well as technical solutions were identified.

“President Duterte’s administration focuses on providing a comfortable life for all Filipinos, which is the main mission of our massive infrastructure program. Efficient infrastructure facilitates trade, opens new markets develops growth centers, and enhances micro, small and medium enterprises in the countryside. With the Philippines’s rich pool of talent, plus your expertise in infrastructure development, our collaboration would be a win-win,” Lopez told 23 British company executives who attended the roundtable.

The Philippine trade chief highlighted the country’s growing number of engineering professionals and skilled graduates who can be employed by foreign companies.

The Philippine infrastructure development team assured British companies that the Philippines is an open market ready to do business with any country following President Duterte’s independent foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Arup—a British firm expert in airport planning, tunnel design, maritime, railway and bridge engineering—expressed its interest to provide technical solutions in various projects of the Philippine government.

Villar said the country’s priority projects have been subjected to rigorous tests and standards—where resilience and sustainability were among the factors considered—by international organizations.

Wood Plc.’s Senior Vice President Alex Haynes opened the possibility of developing renewable-energy  technologies for airports. Tugade said he is very interested in this as “airports are the No. 1 producer of carbon footprints.” The transportation secretary pushed for more RE sources such as solar farms, that will support the airports.

Further talks are slated to continue at Clark Global City in Pampanga.

Lopez also underscored the DTI’s efforts to bring in more investments in the energy industry and open up this sector, as well as other sectors to foreign investment with higher foreign-equity participation.

Wood PLC is a provider of engineering and technical services to clients in the energy and industrial markets worldwide. The company operates in more than 60 countries, including in the Philippines. They have offices in Batangas City, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, and Muntinlupa City. They have worked with Shell on the Malampaya deep- well project.

Other British companies represented by their top executives during the forum included Atkins, Asia House, BAE Systems, Finsburry, Jardine Matheson & Co, Accenture, HSBC, Standard Chartered, KPMG,  NATS, Prudential, UOB, and ZICO Law.