Opening Remarks by Secretary Ramon M. Lopez
Preparatory Meeting of ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)

My fellow ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM);
Deputy Secretary General Lim Hong Hin;
To all the delegates joining us today; Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, good morning, and welcome to the Preparatory Meeting for the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits for the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

Colleagues, allow me to express my heartfelt gratitude for your support for the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN 2017.

This year, we’ve made good progress in getting the ASEAN Economic Community (or AEC) 2025 off the ground. We’ve managed to do this by concentrating our efforts on laying the foundation for the implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025 through the Sectoral Action Plans (SAP) and the Consolidated Strategic Action Plan (CSAP).

We also worked doubly hard on enhancing our external partnerships. These include upgrading and enhancing our existing free trade agreements (or FTAs), intensifying our efforts to complete on-going FTA negotiations, considering new FTA partnerships, and strengthening our economic cooperation mechanisms. Nonetheless, there is much work that needs to be done in order to ensure that we stay the course.

Today’s meeting agenda covers very critical areas that are instrumental in advancing the region’s internal integration process, as well as in our economic integration efforts with our external partners.

We have as our major agenda the preparations for the 15th AEC Council, wherein we will take stock of on what we have accomplished thus far in moving the AEC forward.

We are also set to discuss outstanding issues in FTA negotiations. This year, significant progress has been achieved in moving the negotiations for the Protocol to Amend the ASEAN Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to where it is today. But there are still areas that need to be further deliberated and ironed out if we are to finally conclude the negotiations.

  • In particular is the preparations for the Informal AEM-METI of Japan Consultations, which will take place later today. During our Consultations with Japan, we will discuss the only remaining issue to date that withholds the finalization of the Protocol on the AJCEP.
  • Another important agenda item that we will tackle today is the preparations for the Preparatory RCEP Ministerial Meeting. Discussions will focus on the Collective Assessment Paper to the Leaders and the Joint Leaders’ Statement on the RCEP. I understand the Assessment Paper provides an inventory of measures/targets that can be completed this year, those that need to be further discussed, and those that require reconsideration of current mandates. This is a welcome progress as it gives everyone a comprehensive overview of what has been achieved in the past 20 Rounds of RCEP Negotiations and gives us a sense of direction of where to proceed and what to focus our attention on. The outcomes of this meeting is expected to lead up to the RCEP Leaders Summit this 14 November 2017.

With this, I would like to thank everyone for your continued commitment to the AEC agenda and I look forward to more meaningful exchanges. Thank you and mabuhay!

Message of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, DBP and DTI Memorandum of Agreement Signing (14 June 2018, DBP, Makati City)

Speech of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, 2018 EODB Report to the People at the 6th Ease of Doing Business Summit (13 June 2018, Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City)

Speech of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, 2018 Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (13 June 2018, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City)




13 June 2018, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City

Our good Secretary Boy dela Peña will be speaking in behalf of the President and will be delivering the keynote. So I told myself that I will be limiting myself to expressing our deepest gratitude and thanks to the SEIPI group—the semiconductors and electronics industry, which as we know is a big driver of the economy.

A big thank you for really helping us develop the PATHS, the Product and Technology Holistic Strategy, which is really the industry roadmap. We are really interested in working the out, of course with SEIPI (Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Foundation, Inc) and the authority among all the Cabinets, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). We’re fortunate to have with us Secretary dela Peña who has helped us a lot in the roadmap.

As we know, your industry accounts for a significant contribution to our economy. On exports, you account for 50% and you still do. And you still are performing above par and it’s good that that over 50% performs positively to the tune of 5 – 6%, I think, the latest figure.

I know that you can grow more, with the new products that you develop, higher value, new designs, market-driven products that you will be churning out from your group.

On the GDP, I understand that you also account for more than 10%--especially on that manufacturing sector, which is really a good story to tell nowadays, as we experience that 6.8-6.9% GDP growth.

We are all bragging about the fast growth of manufacturing leading the way at 8% growth rate—which is quite above average and a really far cry from what we are hitting two or three years ago, at a level of above 3%.

Your sector accounts for about 3 million in terms of employment. As you know President Duterte’s administration is not only about projecting and promoting innovative and inclusive industries, it’s really about creating jobs: jobs that will uplift the lives of our countrymen, jobs that will eradicate poverty.

We really bank on this sector because you are the future. You are helping us in the past, but you are still the future because you are the source of these new innovations and technology. 

Again I would like to thank SEIPI and DOST for the completion of the PATHS project. Also thanks to the DOST PCIERD for their support in the completion of the PATHS project

The PATHS will steer the technological direction of the Philippine industry towards becoming an innovation-led industry, which is also strategy of the Department of Trade and Industry.

This project was funded by DTI-BOI amounting to Php 2.85 million and implemented by DOST-PCIEERD through SEIPI

Our long term vision is for the industry to generate US$ 5 billion investments, US$ 50 billion exports, and 13.5 million direct and indirect employment.

The PATHS will identify emerging products and technology in the next five years and identify the right conditions to create an environment conducive to the transfer of new technologies to the Philippines, the shift to higher-value manufacturing, and optimum socio-economic environment to sustain growth of the industry.

This is where we really would like to work closely with your sector. I know that there are a lot of concerns. But we really want to provide you with the right policy and industry reforms that will really prepare us for a better future and a faster growth for the industry.

We have to work closely in generating ideas for policy and program support that you will need in the industry.

The DTI and the DOST is also working towards the Inclusive Innovation Centers. We are tying up with experts and partners from technology and R&D institutions, universities, and corporations. This is something Seretary dela Peña may be mentioning.

This effort will really help us product development, design, high-performance chips, and semiconductor products that will really have high market potential.

Again your government, under President Duterte of course, will help in implementing this roadmap, to help us create a better macroeconomic and industry environment for your sector.

Thank you once again.  Good Morning. I’m sorry, I’ll be running in a while for the Ease of Doing Business Summit that is scheduled before 10 am this morning. We are basically running that program. So thank you once again.♦

Speech of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Launch of China International Import Expo (CIIE) (15 March 2018, Fairmont Hotel, Makati City)

15 March 2018, Fairmont Hotel, Makati City 

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!

I would like to thank to the People’s Republic of China, the Bank of China, Alibaba, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for organizing today’s launch of the China International Import Export Expo (or CIIE) information mission.

Likewise, thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak here today on how the CIIE can not only help boost Philippine-China trade, but also deepen the two countries’ trade relationship as well.

CH International Trade

Today’s event is actually the first leg of the CIIE information mission—entitled “Your Gateway to the China Market”’—and this is also expected to visit the cities of Cebu and Davao on March 20 and 23, respectively.  

To be held on November 5-10 this year in Shanghai, China, the CIIE is a major international event that reiterates China’s strong support for trade liberalization, as well as their way to actively open the Chinese market to the world.

Because of this, the expo is the only trade show in China to date that will feature foreign exhibitors—and no China companies—on the exhibit floor. However, there will be Chinese buyers present, as well as buyers from all over the world at the event.

  • At the CIIE, the focus will mainly be on importation of goods and services to China, with the 6 exhibitions areas featuring trade in goods. These include: High-end Intelligent Equipment; Consumer Electronics & Appliances; Automobile; Apparel, Accessories & Consumer Goods; Food & Agricultural Products; Medical Equipment & Medical Care Products. 
  • There will also be a section for trade in services comprising Tourism Services, Emerging Technologies, Culture & Education, Creative Design, and Service Outsourcing.

For the Philippines, the CIIE will be the biggest ever overseas trade fair that our country will participate in, with over 100 Philippine product and service exporters, as well as investors and government representatives attending the event.

PH-CH Trade Engagements

The participation of Philippine companies in CIIE marks another step in the growth story of the Philippine-China trade and investment relations, as well as the continuing benefits of President Rodrigo Duterte’s independent foreign policy.

From President Duterte’s 2016 state visit to China to the convening of the Philippines-China Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC) last year, we have constantly sought to widen our trade engagements with China. 

  • For example, there is China’s support for infrastructure priority projects like the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, as well as the assistance for earthquake-stricken Surigao worth US$ 1B and the purchase agreement of US$1.7B-worth of agricultural products.
  • We likewise saw several Letters of Intent (LOI) signed last year for potential private sector investment that would result in an estimated US$10.4B-worth of investment and some 11,500 new jobs for Filipinos.
  • There was also the Philippines-China SME Cross-Border Business Matching held last March 2017 that generated a total of 635 matches between Filipino and Chinese enterprises. 

Thanks to these efforts, we are now building on the progress that we’ve achieved, even as Filipino businesses take advantage of the opportunities in working with their Chinese counterparts. 

PH-CH Bilateral Trade 

That’s why it’s no surprise that as of 2017, China was our top trading partner with a total bilateral trade valued at US$ 23.82B billion, and they’ve also become our 4th biggest export market and our top import source. 

  • Our exports to China last year included: storage units (US$ 1.26B); digital monolithic integrated circuits (US$ 1.12B); nickel ores and concentrates (US$ 494.35M); semiconductor devices (US$ 329.74M); and coal (US$ 296.14M).
  • In fact, our total exports to China increased by 9.73% due to the increase in the exports of digital monolithic integrated circuits (68.89%), and cathodes and sections of cathodes of refined copper (566.87%).
  • Meanwhile, Philippine imports from China grew by 8.14%. These include: petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (64.66%); parts and accessories of automatic data processing machines (126.62%); and materials, accessories, and supplies for the manufacture of electrical and electronic machinery, equipment and parts (112.30%), among others. 

CH Market Opportunities

But even with our current trade engagements, the opportunities for trade between Philippines and China can be so much greater.

In 2017, China's total external trade reached US$ 4.1045T with China’s exports and imports increasing by 7.9% and 15.9% (in terms of US dollars), respectively. This has resulted in a trade surplus of US$422.5B for China. 

  • China’s population in 2017 is almost 1.4B, with an increase of almost 125M since 2000. With China rapidly urbanizing, more than half of all Chinese today live in urban areas and up to 70% are expected to be urbanites by 2030. This is an massive increase from the less than 20% of China’s population as recently as of 1980.
  • We’d also like to note that China is ageing at a rapid pace. In 2017, the median age was 37.9 years—7.6 years greater than the figure for 2000—and it will be 41.9 years by 2030, or well above the regional average.
  • Lastly, I ask our Filipino friends and partners from the private sector to note that it’s impossible to ignore the huge US$ 10T Chinese market due to their rapid growth of consumption and imports. Accessing this market will surely leap frog the level of business transactions between the Philippines and China. 

While we all know that China continues to play an important and influential role in the global economy, we foresee even greater opportunities to drive the level of Philippine-China transactions higher with trade events like the CIIE.


In closing, I would like to reiterate how the CIIE can serve as an important opportunity to showcase the trade capabilities of the Philippines, as well as investment opportunities available between our two countries.

At the same time, while this trade event will give our Filipino businesses access to the huge China market, it will certainly help deepen the bilateral trade relations between the Philippines and China.

More importantly, this engagement shows how warm relations are between our two countries—a vast improvement from the past years—and underlines the strong ties of friendship between the Philippines and our good friend and neighbor, China.

That’s why the Philippine government—and specifically, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)—remains committed to fortifying and supporting this relationship through the appropriate combination of policy, trade, and investment decisions.

We also hope that China will continue partnering with us to help push President Duterte’s socio-economic agenda to create inclusive growth and shared prosperity, from promoting MSME development to supporting our “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

I am confident that with the solid friendship between the Philippines and China, our two countries can better manage today’s political and economic challenges—even as we benefit from the increased access in trade and investment with each other.

Thank you very much and mabuhay!♦ 

Press Statement of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, DTI-DICT-NTC JMC Signing on Prepaid Loads (20 December 2017, DTI International Building, Makati City)


20 December 2017, DTI International Building, Makati City


The national government is committed in ensuring all Filipinos enjoy the benefits of sound telecommunications services in the country, while also protecting their consumer rights. 

As such, the departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Information and Communications Technology (DICT), together with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), are signing a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) to support these efforts. 

With this JMC, the government is amending NTC’s Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009, or the Guidelines on Prepaid Loads that cover all prepaid loads of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) providers and public telecommunications entities. 

Specifically, prepaid loads of whatever amount will now have an expiration date that will last up to one year from the date of the top-up. This, in turn, will afford subscribers more time to use their prepaid loads.

  1. The only exclusion to the coverage of this JMC will be those prepaid loads purchased for promotions and other services with a specific period of use, as approved by DTI and NTC.

With this circular, the three government agencies can better protect the rights of Filipinos as consumers given that as of end December 2016, there are around 130 million cellphone subscribers.

  • This is higher than it was in 2009 when the number of subscribers was 75.57 million and the carrying cost per subscriber was Php3.00 per day.
  • Taking into consideration that more than 90% of the costs of the networks are fixed, the carrying cost per subscriber has decreased as the number of subscribers has increased since then.

To reiterate, the 1987 Constitution recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building. As part of a whole-of-government approach, different agencies have their roles to play to fulfill this goal.

  • NTC promotes consumer welfare by facilitating access to telecommunications services via a sound infrastructure and network,
  • Meanwhile, DICT pushes the development and use of ICT through policies, plans, programs, and guidelines.

DTI’s mandate—under Republic Act No. 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines—is to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts or practices, and from misleading advertisements and fraudulent sales promotions.

Furthermore, while DTI is committed in promoting the rights of consumers and the needs of the individual subscribers, we also want to address the needs of business subscribers using these services.

  • DTI is confident that our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will be able to do business more easily thanks to this circular, whether by making calls or sending an SMS to their customers, or by accessing the internet to conduct e-commerce.
  • Through greater opportunities accessible via telecommunications, our MSMEs will be able to help us generate inclusive development and shared prosperity for all Filipinos, especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Lastly, with this circular, President Rodrigo Duterte hopes to give the public a gift this holiday season that everyone can truly benefit from in the coming years.♦

Keynote Address of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez at the 2nd Manufacturing Summit (29 November 2017, Makati City)

29 November 2017, Makati City

Usec. Rowel Barba, Usec. Nora Terrado [and other DTI officials, Asec. Aldaba, Asec. Perez…;
Mr. Kunihiko Shinoda, METI Deputy Director-General;
Mr. Susumu Ito, JICA Country Representative;
Mr. Clay Epperson, USAID Deputy Mission Director;

Distinguished speakers and panelists; participants from other government agencies; industry associations; and the academic community;

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!

Macroeconomic performance & economic transformation
These are indeed exciting times for the Philippines. Amid the global economic volatility, the outlook for the country remains positive as we have maintained our strong macroeconomic position.

Our first-to-third-quarter growth in 2017 stood at 6.7%, securing our position as the fastest growing economy in Asia. We outpaced our ASEAN neighbors such as Vietnam, which grew by 6.3%, and Malaysia which registered 5.9%. Our country’s impressive growth has only been eclipsed by China, which grew by 6.9% for the first three quarters of 2017.

Clearly, our recent performance demonstrates remarkable economic resilience, thanks to a resurging Philippine manufacturing industry. This year, manufacturing has been the country’s main economic driver, exhibiting a Q1 to Q3 growth of 8.3%—the highest among the main economic sectors.

The Philippines is now on the verge of economic transformation. While services was the main driver of growth in the past decades, manufacturing has been contributing more substantially to the nation’s economic growth since 2013.

Consider this: from 1999 to 2012, services registered an average annual growth of 5.4%, while manufacturing was growing at an average of 4.0%. But from 2013 to 2016, the average third quarter growth of manufacturing stood at 7.8% while services posted an average of 6.8%.

Another transformation is taking shape as economic expansion is being driven by investments, with capital formation accelerating by 8.6% in the first three quarters of this year. Compare this to consumption and government spending, which rose by only 5.4 and 5.3%, respectively.

With a growth rate of 10.4% in Q1 to Q3 last year (2016), fixed capital formation has remained robust. Durable equipment grew by 11.6%, driven mainly by growth in general industrial machinery and equipment (12.0%) and transport equipment (11.4%).

Meanwhile, net FDI inflows remain strong, amounting to US$5.1B from January to August 2017. With positive investor confidence, approved investments by the Board of Investments (BOI) from January to September 2017 increased by 33% to PhP408.7B from PhP296B during the same period in 2016. Manufacturing sub-sectors covering food, motor vehicles, fabricated metal, and wood products amounted to PhP38.5B, or 9.4% of the total.

High level growth & the employment challenge

Though manufacturing growth has been contributing significantly to our country’s economic growth, its share to GDP of 23% and contribution to total employment of 8% have remained quite unchanged in the last decade.
While our unemployment rate slightly worsened to 5.9% during the first three quarters of 2017 from 5.8% during the same period in 2016, our underemployment rate declined to 15.2% from 17.4% in the same period. Meanwhile, our poverty incidence also improved to 21.6% in 2015 from 25.2% in 2012.

Still, our employment challenge remains: we have 2.5M unemployed and 6.5M million underemployed fellow Filipinos.

The mandate of “Trabaho at Negosyo”

Last year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) organized the first Manufacturing Summit that brought together stakeholders from the government, industry, and academe. The aim of the Summit was to discuss policy directions and strategies to revitalize our manufacturing sector.

With the theme “Trabaho at Negosyo,” the Summit was a venue for the fruitful exchange of ideas on the opportunities and challenges in the manufacturing industry, as well as the steps we could take in shaping its future.

Based on the panel discussions and breakout sessions in the Summit, we identified the following steps to sustain the resurgence of manufacturing and further expand the sector:

  • First, as an initial step towards putting innovation and R&D at the center of our industrial strategy, we will establish innovation centers in the country. This will be done in close coordination with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and in collaboration with the academe and industry stakeholders.
  • Second, we will revise and update our industrial policy to consider emerging disruptive technologies, like robotics, AI, and 3D printing. We will coordinate closely with the industry, academe, and other government agencies to discuss these and refine our industry priorities and targets.
  • Third, we will continue the collaboration among government, academe, and industry. In particular, we will focus on the implementation of the priority measures recommended during the Summit’s breakout sessions.

Updates on the Manufacturing Summit 2016

Let me share with you some updates on the priority recommendations proposed in last year’s Summit:

As most of you here know, DTI is actively promoting innovation as key to the competitiveness of Philippine industries. We have modernized the BOI’s Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) towards this direction by providing for incentives for innovation and R&D economic activities.

  • Back in May, we conducted the Inclusive Innovation Conference to launch the roadmapping for innovation in the country. This has been followed by a series of regional innovation workshops conducted in Metro Manila, Cebu, CDO, and Davao. A last one is set to be conducted in December in Clark. Through these workshops, we are soliciting inputs from stakeholders from the regions and we are aiming to formally launch the roadmap in the first half of next year.  The conduct of these innovation fora and formulation of the roadmap resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that DTI signed with DOST to closely collaborate on our innovation initiatives. Both DTI and DOST intend to bring in the relevant national government agencies moving forward.
  • The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhil) is also formulating our National Intellectual Property Strategy (NIPS), and this will be a key part of our innovation roadmap.
  • Through the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP), DTI and BOI continue to promote collaborative agreements between industry associations, government, and academe in support of inclusive and innovative manufacturing.
  • We also continue to consider human resource development as an essential element of our industry development programs. Towards this, we are closely coordinating with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) with regard to reforms and programs for human capital development.
  • We have been engaging as well various higher educational institutions from all over the country, both private and public, to do our part in bridging the industry-academe divide.
  • With regard to infrastructure, DTI and BOI have been coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in our convergence program on road connectivity for industry and trade development. Called “Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) Program,” the goal of this program is to prioritize and implement road access infrastructure that leads to various industries and economic zones. Through ROLL IT, we are proposing Php12.3B worth of road infrastructure across the country under the proposed 2018 budget.
  • We are actively supporting the amendment of the Public Service Act, which we hope will finally be done by Congress. And of course, we are supporting the government’s massive “Build Build Build” Program.
  • Notwithstanding the recent dip in our Ease of Doing Business (EODB) ranking, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) remains determined to push reforms in our business environment and improve our competitiveness.
  • Regarding the development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), we launched earlier this year our money lending program called the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3). President Rodrigo Duterte had also announced during the ASEAN Summit to pour as much as Php50B for SME development in the coming years.
  • With regard to incentives and other forms of government support, we are coordinating with the Department of Finance (DOF) to ensure that these are performance-based, time-bound, transparent, and easy to administer. We maintain that incentives can be effective tools for industry development and ensure our competitiveness.
  • And finally, regarding trade, we expressed our intention during the meeting between President Duterte and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit to negotiate and forge a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US.

The Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S)

After a year, we have refined our industrial strategy.

The Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (or i3S) is the new industrial policy formulated by DTI-BOI that aims to grow globally competitive and innovative industries, with innovation at the front and center of industrial policies and programs.

With i3S, there are 12 sub-sectors that are top priorities for industry development, with a focus not only on manufacturing but linking together activities particularly through the servicification of manufacturing. This would connect services activities like design, R&D, engineering, and after-sales with manufacturing.

These sub-sectors and programs include:

  • Auto and auto parts: Auto electronics, CARS Program, Public Utility Vehicle Modernization;
  • Electronic manufacturing services: Auto electronics, medical devices, telecommunications equipment, power storage, civil aviation/ aerospace;
  • Semiconductor manufacturing services: Integrated circuit (IC) design;
  • Aerospace parts and aircraft Maintenance, repair, and overhaul;
  • Chemicals: Petrochemicals, acyclic alcohols & derivatives, metallic salts & peroxy salts of inorganic acids, cyclic hydrocarbons, oleo chemicals;
  • Shipbuilding & Ship-repair: Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO)m as well as small- and medium-sized vessels;
  • Furniture, garments, creative industries: Manufacturing and design;
  • Iron and steel, tool and die: Manufacturing and design;
  • Agribusiness food & resource-based processing: Cacao, coffee, mangoes, bananas, coconut, rubber, bamboo, fruits & nuts, and other high value crops;
  • Construction: Roads, railways, bridges, ports, airports, and low-cost housing;
  • IT-BPM and e-commerce: Higher-earning and more complex non-voice services BPO, Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) in medical, financial, and legal services; game development; engineering services outsourcing (ESO), software development, and shared services;
  • Transport and Logistics: Land, air, and water transport, warehousing, and support facilities for transport given that huge services investments in infrastructure and logistics would boost the competitiveness of industries and improve connectivity within the country; and,
  • Tourism

Major pillars and strategic actions

From this i3S policy, we have now laid out strategic actions to help us achieve our goals. These include:

Building new industries, clusters, and agglomeration via:

  • Addressing gaps and linkages in industry supply and value chains;
  • Expanding the domestic market base to allow industries to attain economies of scale and realize their export potential;
  • Pursuing green policies in industries to make them more competitive, innovative, environment-friendly, and climate smart;
  • Implementing aggressive promotion and marketing programs to attract more foreign direct investments especially those that would bring in new technologies;
  • Addressing market failures by providing fiscal incentives that are well-targeted, performance-based, and time bound;
  • Creating industry clusters to address agglomeration, economies of scale, and coordination issues; and,
  • Promoting the establishment of domestic ecozones that would allow activities catering to both domestic and export markets.

Capacity-building and human resource development via:

  • Designing human resource development and training programs to improve skills and establish tie-ups with universities and training institutions.

MSME growth and development via:

  • Supporting SME development by boosting their growth and profitability through the 7Ms (Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market, and Models) as well as programs focusing on the establishment of common service facilities, and improving access to finance, technology, and skilled workers;
  • Linking MSMEs with large domestic enterprises and multinationals;
  • Promoting inter-firm and academe collaboration; and,
  • Setting up efficient storage and logistics (like handling and cold storage).

Innovation and entrepreneurship via:

  • Establishing an inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that would link together academe, industry, and government;
  • Strengthening industry-academe collaboration that focuses on market-oriented research,
  • Revising engineering curricula, particularly manufacturing engineering and work related to industries;
  • Equipping universities to carry out research relevant to industries,
  • Ensuring intellectual property protection;
  • Setting up R&D incentives (like tax credit and accelerated depreciation); and,
  • Setting up shared facilities for rapid prototyping and demonstration

Ease of doing business and investment environment via:

  • Continuing to strengthen our institutional and regulatory framework by addressing corruption and smuggling, and eliminating bureaucratic red tape through streamlining and automation of government procedures and regulations;
  • Establishing a single mechanism for coordinating business registration, application for permits and licenses, and investment promotion with local government units (LGUs) and other national government agencies; and,
  • Continuing the big bang infrastructure investment to cover not only the building of physical infrastructure like roads, but also power, logistics, and a modern and efficient air and sea infrastructure.

Inter-agency collaboration

Going back to the collaboration between DTI and DOST, the two agencies agreed to work together to create an inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country. Currently, we are working together in formulating and implementing our innovation roadmap.
Based on the aforementioned consultative workshops in NCR, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and Davao we have conducted to date, the major recommendations include:

  • The establishment of shared services facilities (like FabLabs) and creation of innovation hubs;
  • Collaboration among government, industry, and academe through joint activities and the use of physical and shared spaces;
  • Capacity-building and skills training; and,
  • Funding support.

In DTI, we are studying the possibility of transforming our 3-hectare Center for Innovation and Technology for Enterprises (or the old CITC) in Marikina as a possible innovation center (like Plug and Play).

The location is appropriate, given that Marikina is home to the footwear industry as well as woodworking and jewelry enterprises. It is also very close to education institutions like UP, Ateneo, Miriam College, and the Marikina University.


To conclude, our vision is for the Philippines to have creative and connected communities (3Cs) of different stakeholders like innovators, start-ups, SMEs, and large enterprises that will collaborate to produce new products and services.

Moving forward, we firmly believe that it is crucial for us to form an innovation council composed of representatives from the government, industry and academe. This would ensure that our country’s innovation policies and programs will be properly implemented leading towards the sustained resurgence of Philippine manufacturing.

Ultimately, these efforts will help us create not only employment opportunities and address income inequality throughout the country, but also ensure that the economic growth resurgence our country is experiencing will be felt by all Filipinos.

By working closely together, we can achieve our goal of generating inclusive growth and shared prosperity for our countrymen, especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Thank you and mabuhay tayong lahat!


Opening Remarks of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Preparatory Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting (11 November 2017, Pasay City)

The Preparatory Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Ministerial Meeting (Prep-RCEP TNC)


Fellow Ministers of ASEAN and our Dialogue Partners, we are gathered here today in preparation for the 1st Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Summit. But before anything else, it is my pleasure to welcome you all and your delegation once again to the Philippines.

For those of us who are tasked with providing guidance and vision in driving our respective economies forward in a constantly shifting global trade and economic landscape, we have our work cut out for us.

We have expressed our collective agreement to achieve a substantial conclusion to RCEP negotiations within the year. We emphasized this commitment during our meeting last September, and even expressed the hope that we will have something significant to report to our Leaders during the ASEAN Summit.

We have had 5 Ministerial level Meetings and 20 rounds of negotiations, with the most recent one hosted by Korea last month. We note the milestones and breakthroughs reached, especially those that yielded substantial outcomes like the conclusion of the Chapters on Economic and Technical Cooperation and the Small and Medium Enterprises.

We also welcome another encouraging development, which is that of Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF) and Competition Chapters that are nearing completion.

Meanwhile, we are still in negotiations to reach substantive agreements on key elements of the RCEP, a task which we have been engaged in since 2012. At this point, let us extend our full support to our negotiating teams, allowing them more room to navigate on contentious issues toward achieving resolutions. Equally, efforts must be further intensified in making this possible.

This is the challenge now facing us: we should be able to provide a concrete and tangible roadmap that our Leaders can agree to and endorse, which will lay the foundations for a binding agreement.

RCEP is of tremendous importance for our economies and the region, and our efforts today can bring about greater progress and economic sustainability for the coming years.

We therefore look forward to having substantial and fruitful discussions, and even solidify our positions in the process. It is imperative for us to finalize the Ministers’ Collective FINAL 12 November 2017 Assessment Report to the Leaders and the Joint Statement of Leaders in negotiating the RCEP.

To conclude, we would like to say that our hosting of this year’s ASEAN would never have been successful without your efforts, collaboration, and cooperation.

With this, I declare the RCEP Ministerial Meeting open. Again, thank you and mabuhay tayong lahat.


Opening Remarks of ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Chairperson Ramon M. Lopez, 15th ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) Meeting (11 November 2017, Pasay City)



Dear colleagues, we started this year with high hopes, and we are now concluding it on a high note. ASEAN has made tremendous progress and has had such a meaningful year this 2017. This was made possible with the dedication of our economic trade officials, who worked virtually non-stop to help us achieve our targets, and with the solid support and cooperation from our partners from the ASEAN Member States (AMS).

I recall 10 months ago, when the Philippines officially launched its Chairmanship of ASEAN bearing the banner theme: “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” Under this theme, our chairmanship had 6 thematic priorities, one of which was “Inclusive, Innovation-Led Growth” for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This thematic priority affirms trade and integration as a powerful engine of economic growth and development for the AEC. In this regard, ASEAN has achieved a measure of success as we continue to link economies and pursue integration and cooperation with strategic external partners.

The establishment of the AEC in 2015 has engendered enormous opportunities in the form of a huge market worth US$2.5T. Vibrant flow of goods, services, investments, and skilled labor are among the benefits of this economic integration. Moreover, the ASEAN Vision and AEC Blueprint 2025 demonstrate that the region is making good progress in formulating a clear way on how to collectively address the opportunities that AEC present.

Nonetheless, we acknowledge that despite our efforts, the issue of development remains a pressing concern with inequity and inclusiveness remaining the biggest challenges within our economies and across the region. Without full participation in trade, growth cannot be truly inclusive and further progress in trade liberalization would be difficult if the benefits are not shared by all.

The theme “Inclusive, Innovation-led Growth” acknowledges the socio-economic dimension of regional economic integration and its contribution to poverty alleviation. This priority urges us to strengthen our commitment for more inclusive participation in the process of community-building, where we all are partners and everyone contributes. This will likewise ensure that the gains presented by economic integration are fully realized and shared by everyone in the region.

I remember our President Duterte also highlighting this point at the recently-concluded APEC wherein for us, the leaders, the way globalization should work is that everyone should emerge as winners, and that globalization should not produce winners and losers but everyone as winners.

This year, we also put greater focus on reinforcing our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by providing an enabling environment for its development and to enable them to scale up and participate in the global value chain. Given the breadth and extent of the MSME sector in the region, its development would directly contribute to spreading the economic benefits more widely.

Micro SMEs must be full participants and beneficiaries that closer regional economic integration brings. This means further strengthening the role and contributions of micro SMEs so as to attain a dynamic, inclusive, and people-oriented AEC.

We pursued this theme through 3 strategic measures, namely: increasing trade and investment; integrating micro SMEs in the global value chains; and developing an innovation-driven economy. These measures, in turn, were supported by 11 priority economic deliverables related to trade facilitation, trade in services, connectivity, inclusive business, e-commerce, and innovation. These deliverables would ensure the participation of the micro SME sector, as well as the marginalized—like the women and youth—in commercial activities.

With this mind, we are convening today to exchange views on what we’ve done so far in moving the AEC forward. For 2017, we have made good progress in getting AEC 2025 off the ground. After the adoption of the AEC Blueprint 2025, we concentrated our efforts on the development of the Consolidated Strategic Action Plan (CSAP) that serves as the operational framework for the AEC Blueprint 2025. We adopted the CSAP earlier this year and completed additional action plans that are relevant to further increasing intra-regional trade, like trade facilitation and e-commerce.

We take this opportunity as well to prepare and firm up our deliverables and report to our Leaders who are set to meet few days from now. These include notable developments in our external economic relations like the completion of the negotiations for the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (or AHKFTA) and the Investment Agreement (AHKIA).

There is also the endorsement of the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Feasibility Study for an ASEAN-Canada FTA Agreement and the subsequent undertaking of the study. Further, there is the convening of the Joint Working Group that is tasked to assess the possibilities for the resumption of the ASEAN-EU FTA negotiations. Lastly, the level of engagement that we had on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (or RCEP) this year is unprecedented, demonstrating and galvanizing ASEAN’s leadership in the negotiations process.

Ladies and gentlemen, ASEAN continues to progress year after year through our concerted efforts. The challenge of sustaining this and ensuring that we reach the kind of community that our forefathers envisioned us to become—a community that is secure, inclusive, prosperous, and stable—requires us to work even more closely.

My term as AEM Chairman comes to an end. Allow me to express my deep gratitude to everyone for your support and hard work to ensure that our Chairmanship, which coincides with the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN, is a success. I would also like to congratulate our fellow economic trade officials for a job well done.

Again, thank you very much and I wish a productive discussion ahead of us.

Mabuhay tayong lahat!



Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Chair 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting (11 September 2017, Pasay City)

Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Chair 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Press Briefing (10 September 2017, Pasay City)

Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Chair 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Press Briefing (9 September 2017, Pasay City)

Statement of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Chair 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Press Briefing (8 September 2017, Pasay City)

Speech of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Opening Ceremony (7 September 2017, Pasay City)

Speech and presentation of DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez at the opening of the Manufacturing Summit 2016 (26 November 2016)

Statement of DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Philippine Lead 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Press Briefing (10 September 2017, Pasay City)

Statement of DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Philippine Lead 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Press Briefing (9 September 2017, Pasay City)

Statement of DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Philippine Lead 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers' Meeting Press Briefing (8 September 2017, Pasay City)

Opening Statement of Trade Undersecretary/BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo Press Conference on BOI Guinogulan Awards (25 April 2017)

Press Statement on Ease of Doing Business Reforms by Undersecretary Rowel S. Barba (May 2018)





  1. Last week, the Doing Business Survey Team of the World Bank came to our country to validate the reforms for the 2019 Cycle of the Doing Business Survey. We would like to share these reforms so that our citizens will be better informed on the interventions of government on how to make doing business in the Philippines easier.
  2. You will recall that the Philippines ranking dropped from 99 to 113 in the 2018 WB DB Survey. Since the time we met in November to announce the ranking, the EODB Task Force, composed of 13 agencies have been working doubly hard.
  3. I am pleased to report the reforms made by the various agencies of your government.
  4. On Starting a Business
    1. [SEC] Full operationalization of the Company Registration System in November 2017, which is an online registration for company registrations being operated by the Securities and Exchange Commission;
    2. [QC] Setting up of an Enhanced One-Stop Shop in Quezon City starting January 2018 in Quezon City, which co-located all concerned units/offices in one facility – the Business Permits and Licensing Office, the Zoning Office and the Treasurer’s Office, and the Bureau of Fire Protection – and made it convenient for applicants to register new businesses;
    3. [BIR] Instituting a Single Window Transaction Project where applicants can submit documents and be issued the Certificate of Registration and Authority to Print;
    4. These measures will reduce procedures from 16 to 10 and the processing time from 28 days to 16 days.
  5. On Dealing with Construction Permits
    1. [QC-LGU] Setting up of a One-stop Shop for Construction-related Permits in Quezon City that co-located 3 offices of the city government and the Bureau of Fire Protection;
    2. Making the Barangay Clearance a post-requirement;
    3. These measures resulted to reduced procedures to 8 from 23 and the processing time to 36 from 122 days.
  6. On Getting Electricity
    1. [MERALCO] Online application for electricity connection from MERALCO, including setting up of a MERALCO booth in QC’s One-stop Shop for Construction Permits;
    2. Eliminating the requirement to secure a Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection from the Quezon City Government, which is now issued together with the Certificate of Occupancy;
    3. Procedures have been reduced to 3 from 4 and processing time from 37 to 28 days.
  7. Registering Property
    1. [LRA] Automation of the operations of the Land Registration Authority and the Registry of Deeds in Quezon City that shortened processing time and led to better transparency of information;
    2. In terms of quality indicators, the Posting by LRA of relevant statistics is also a major reform that shows transparency;
    3. Procedures remain at 9 steps but the processing time improved greatly from 35 to 20 days.
  8. Enforcing Contracts
    1. [Supreme Court] Implementation of the automated raffling of cases and electronic case management system under the Supreme Court’s eCourt implementation
  9. That government is serious in promoting ease of doing business is an understatement. We take to heart our task to improve our competitiveness by making doing business in the Philippines easier.
  10. But there are more REFORMS UNDERWAY.
  11. Government is working on the following that will further promote ease of doing business:
    1. Signing into law of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018;
    2. The amendments to the Corporation Code, which will affect two indicators – Starting a Business and Protection Minority Investors;
    3. The Secured Transactions Bill, which will strengthen the legal rights index under the criterion on Getting Credit;
    4. Implementation of the Unified Employee Enrolment Portal, which is an online one-time reporting system to be established by the Social Security System, the Home Development Mutual Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation for employees of newly registered businesses. This will reduce the procedures and processing time for enrolment of new employees in the criterion on Starting a Business;
    5. Implementation of the Transfer Assistance Program by the Quezon City government that will streamline the procedures for securing the tax declaration, tax clearance, and for paying the transfer tax – all of which will reduce the processing time for registering property.
  12. We assure our kababayans that we will continue to pursue these reforms because as we increase our competitiveness, more investments will come in, and more jobs will be created.
  13. We hope that our friends in media will help us relay these achievements to the public, and to the world at large to show that the Philippines is always open for business.


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