MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Coming from the heels of a highly successful official visit by Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to Japan last February, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its representative office in Western Japan—Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Osaka, recently concluded a three-day business mission to the Philippines on 15-17 March 2023 for the Osaka-led Business Partner City (BPC) to explore vast potentials being offered by the Philippine market.

The Business Partner City aims to support globalization and revitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Osaka, and to promote the mutual development of BPCs through economic exchanges.

Seated from left to right:  PTIC Osaka Commercial Counsellor Michael Alfred V. Ignacio;  Director Kenjiro Mori, Osaka International Business Promotion Center; Senior Executive Director & Secretary General Makoto Yagi, Business Partner City Council and IBPC;  DTI Undersecretary Carol P. Sanchez; Presidential Special Envoy to Japan for Trade and Investment Promotion, Dr. Reghis M. Romero II; DTI Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda, Foreign Trade Service Corps; BOI Executive Director Evariste M. Cagatan

DTI officials Undersecretary Ana Carolina P. Sanchez, Undersecretary Ceferino R. Rodolfo, joined by Assistant Secretary Glenn G. Peñaranda, and supported by Presidential Special Envoy to Japan Dr. Reghis Romero II, welcomed the Official Delegation composed of Osaka City Officials, BPC Council, and the Business Delegation consisting of top Executives from 15 different Japanese companies from the manufacturing, medical equipment, food, agriculture, retail and pharmaceutical sectors.

“This business mission is indeed an expression of strong interest in the Philippines and a vote of confidence in the country’s economic, business, trade, and investment prospects of Japanese businesses and the Osaka City business promotion agencies.  We thank you for heeding the call of our President to explore investments, trade, and partnership opportunities with the Philippines. Together, let us strengthen our economies, bring in more investments, and generate better employment opportunities for our people,” said Undersecretary Sanchez

In an Investment Briefing and Forum, the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) Usec. Rodolfo highlighted the importance of strengthening trade and investment ties with Osaka-based businesses. Undersecretary Rodolfo also cited Osaka’s important position as a second major business hub in Japan, following Tokyo.

“The renewed implementation of the Business Partner City (BPC) agreement has yielded large investment prospects from Osaka, a premier international port city whose gross regional product of US$362.5 billion and a population of 8.8 million are comparable with Singapore’s, currently the Philippines’ top source of foreign investments,” Special Envoy Romero remarked.

Further, PTIC Osaka Commercial Counselor and Director Michael Alfred V. Ignacio emphasized the need to leverage the presence of the Japanese manufacturing conglomerates already operating in the country.

“As more and more Japanese SMEs firms decide to locate to the Philippines, this bid will help Japanese locators in lessening their reliance on importation for raw materials, manufacturing inputs and supplies, sustainably increasing the country’s supply chain capabilities,” Commercial Counselor Ignacio added.

The delegation also joined different investment and networking meetings with Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), welcomed by PCCI Board Director Sergio Ortiz Luis and Secretary General Ruben Pascual; Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Philippines; the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines (JCCIPI); and officials of the Japan Desk at RCBC Bank.

Meanwhile, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Officials led by BCDA Chairman Delfin Lorenzana and President Aileen Zosa, together with the BCDA Executive Team presented to the Business Delegation BCDA’s developments such as Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, Subic Bay, and Clark economic zones in Pampanga highlighting the investment opportunities in New Clark City.

Additionally, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) OIC Director General Tereso O. Panga together with Deputy Director General and General Manager Aleem Guiapal and other key officials of PEZA, welcomed the business delegation at the agency’s headquarters for a briefing.

On the final day of the mission, Special Envoy Romero and Manila City Councilor and International Relations Committee Chair Numero Lim led the wreath-laying ceremony at the Luneta Park.

Following the wreath-laying ceremony, the delegations attended the BPC Conference officially opened by Vice Manila Mayor Yul Servo Nieto and moderated by Councilor Lim at the Manila City Hall and a Courtesy Call on Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna.

The BPC forms an economic network in the dynamic Asian-Pacific region and in Europe which helps partner cities to attract investments, pool of talents, and develop emerging industries through key opportunities in tech and innovation, medical and healthcare, and sustainability, automotive and electric vehicle industry, consumer and retail goods, and more. As a result of the recent mission, the BPC delegation members expressed their strong interest in partnering with Manila and the Philippines in pursuing partnerships and future collaborations involving the above mentioned sectors.

As President Marcos has highlighted on several occasions, the Philippines is on a path to solid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and is further moving toward a robust economic expansion.

In support to this, DTI Foreign Trade Service Corps Assistant Secretary Peñaranda remarked during the conference, “Vital to our government’s efforts in steering the economy is engaging investors, like many of you, so that you will consider and find the Philippines to be a place where your businesses can thrive. An investment-led economy is our next goal, considering that our growth has been consumer-driven for the longest time.”

Vice Mayor Servo said that Manila is open for investments and innovations. As one of the first local government units to advocate business reopening after nationwide lockdowns, Manila implemented key initiatives to support business reopening which include the provision of financial aid and tax incentives to local businesses, as well as capacity-building programs to help enterprises adapt to the new normal.

Additionally, the City of Manila has focused on improving the ease of doing business by implementing measures such as the e-business one-stop shop, which streamlines business registration and other processes. Further, Manila has been able to successfully navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic and create a resilient and prosperous community by maintaining a balance between necessary health precautions, supporting local businesses, and fostering economic growth.

The Cities of Manila and Osaka are charter signatories of the Business Partner City Agreement signed in 1989.

PTIC Osaka is positive that more investments and partnerships will be established after the three-day inbound mission further increasing engagements with potential investors based in Osaka City and the greater Kansai region in a strategic move to help build the Philippine manufacturing supply chain and ecosystem.♦

PEZA Investment Opportunities Briefing in Economic Zones and Industrial Parks & BPC Delegation Call on PEZA Officials

From Left:  PEZA DDG and GM Aleem Guiapal; PTIC Osaka Commercial Counselor Michael Alfred V. Ignacio; Special Envoy Reghis M. Romero II; Director Kenjiro Mori, Osaka International Business Promotion Center; OIC Director General Thereso O. Panga; PEZA OIC DDG Vivian S. Santos

BCDA Briefing for the Osaka Business Partner City Delegation

Osaka IBPC Director Kenjiro Mori; Osaka BPC Council Secretary General Makoto Yagi, BCDA Chairman Delfin Lorenzana, BCDA President Aileen Zosa, BCDA Director Reghis Romero III

Wreath Laying at Rizal Monument, Luneta Park with Military Honors

DTI Assistant Secretary Glenn G. Peñaranda during Business Partner City (BPC) Conference 2023

Business Partner City (BPC) Conference 2023

Courtesy Call on Manila City Mayor Honey Lacuna

Networking Luncheon hosted by Presidential Special Envoy to Japan Dr. Reghis Romero II

From left to right: DTI Assistant Secretary Glenn G. Peñaranda, PEZA DDG and GM Aleem Guiapal, Presidential Special Envoy to Japan Dr. Reghis Romero II


Date of release: 26 April 2023