President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. chose Singapore in launching an international initiative to boost the Philippine economy by way of attracting investments. He spoke at the 10th Asia Summit of the Milken Institute last Sept. 13.
We don't know if the President realizes it, but this isn't a good time to talk bullish on investments in Singapore, an economic leader in Asean, but this year barely avoided being in technical recession with its economy growing 0.3 percent quarter on quarter. Like us, the struggle to recover from Covid-19, rising inflation, straining global supply chains and a general economic slowdown all contribute to the contraction of the Singapore economy.
Still, Marcos confidently said the Philippines is a prime investment destination and a nation on the rise, "ready to collaborate with partners who see the potential that we hold in the Philippines. Our journey towards a digital future is in full swing. The Philippine tech ecosystem is thriving, marked by dynamic startup culture and advancements in e-commerce.”
The Chief Executive continued his pitch: “Another strength of the Philippines is our educated and English-speaking workforce that has propelled us onto the global stage, especially in the area of business processing, and outsourcing. We are the number one country of choice for the delivery of customer support and to healthcare services."
Marcos also mentioned the country's competitive advantages in connectivity, its "Build Better More" infrastructure program, and transport and energy facilities, taking care to note that foreigners may fully own businesses involving renewable energy.
To further sell the lay of the land of PH business, hoping that some European wokes are listening, Marcos said Filipinos are stewards of the environment, and we are committed to sustain development in the fight against climate change.
"The Philippines is embracing renewable energy, welcoming 100 percent foreign ownership of renewable energy projects,” he proudly affirmed.
Marcos also told investors that the Philippines is working to improve the citizens’ technical and vocational skills, as well as bolstering the nation’s infrastructure.
Not only the President, but also his economic team is busy talking with foreign investors. In fact, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan were in Japan selling the same pitch to Japanese investors when Malacanang announced the price ceiling on rice, without any notice or consultation with them.
Inconsistent policies such as the freeze in Manila Bay reclamation and knee-jerk reactions like the rice price ceiling, aside from high cost of electricity and logistics will just negate all the good-business promises of Marcos.
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