IN the three-day state visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to Malaysia, the government has reaped a total of US$285 million investment commitments after Malaysian business leaders have pledged to expand their investments and operations in the Philippines.
President Marcos said the Malaysian business leaders have expressed keen interest to invest in the food processing industry, multi-service digital platforms, aviation, aviation maintenance support services, logistics, manufacturing, infrastructure, water and wastewater treatment in the Philippines.
The President said all of the investment commitments of the Malaysian business leaders will have valuable contribution to the economic growth of the Philippines.
“I had the benefit of meeting a number of Malaysian businesses in the key sectors of agriculture, transportation, and technology,” President Marcos said in the roundtable meeting with Malaysian business leaders on Thursday.
President Marcos said that the insights from the meetings have further convinced him that the Philippines and Malaysia are moving in the right direction, with structural changes that will establish the Philippines as the ideal investment partner for Malaysian businesses.
“The investments that we have agreed on so far will inject a total of about $285 million, serving as a robust and affirmative indication of the ongoing trust and keen interest of businesses and investors in the Philippines,” President Marcos said as he thanked the businessmen for their trust and confidence in the Philippines.
During the meeting, the chief executive emphasized that the Philippines has shown healthy signs of economic recovery amid the global challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic as he noted that the Philippines registered 7.6 GDP growth last year.
President Marcos added that the Philippines is one of the best performing economies in the Asia Pacific Region.
“For the first quarter of this year, the Philippines outperformed its peers in the region by posting the GDP growth of 6.4%, that is the first quarter, which is within the country’s 6 to 7 percent target for the year,” President Marcos said.
“The reason that we put such emphasis on the growth figures is that as all the countries have gone into debt, a higher rate of debt-to-GDP because of the pandemic and the costs of the pandemic response for all the countries. It is our fundamental theory that we should grow out of that debt,” he added.
The chief executive assured the business leaders of the Philippine government’s commitment to continue its support not only to prospective Malaysian investors, but also to the Malaysian companies who are presently doing business in the Philippines.
President Marcos added his administration continues to seek ways to ensure a conducive business environment for foreign investors as he bared the business-related policies aimed at simplifying procedures and shortening processing periods to ensure ease of doing business in the Philippines.
Among the measures passed are the Retail Trade Liberalization Act amendments, the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Services Act amendments, and the Renewable Energy (RE) Act, which opened up sectors including air transport, telecommunications, shipping, retail, and renewable energy projects through foreign ownership.
“We have made our system of corporate taxation more business-friendly with a lowered tax rate and improved mechanism for tax and incentives. We continue to seek ways to facilitate and expedite investments. We have recently established what we refer to as green lanes for strategic investments as a means to establish a whole-of-government approach to facilitate at the highest level of government the critical investments necessary for the development and competitiveness of our economy,” President Marcos said.
“Essentially what we refer to as green lanes are….since while we are waiting for the many more amendments, especially taxation, legislation, procurement, accounting all of these things that have to be modernized, we have created these green lanes to facilitate prospective investors in going through the…[inaudible]…process, going through the documentary requirements,” he added.
President Marcos joined a roundtable meeting with the Malaysian business leaders organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Kuala Lumpur during his three-day state visit to Malaysia.