Balisacan: PH ‘more open to business now’
EIREENE JAIREE GOMEZ
The Manila Times
THE Philippines is “more open to business now,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Monday as he urged European businessmen to consider the country as an investment destination. “With all of our transformative reforms and initiatives set into motion, the Philippines is poised to regain its pre-eminence in Southeast Asia and beyond,” he said at the first leg of the 2023 Philippine Economic Briefing in Frankfurt, Germany. “We are more open to business now more than ever with investors having a wide array of industries to choose from: energy, water, logistics, transportation, agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, health, education and digital connectivity,” Balisacan added. The government’s current goal, after over two years under the pandemic, is the reinvigoration of job creation and the acceleration of poverty reduction, he continued. “More importantly, the focus is no less than affecting economic transformation toward a prosperous, inclusive and resilient Philippine society.” He said the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, the Marcos’ government’s development blueprint, spelled out policy strategies, actionable reform initiatives and legislative priorities to attain desired socioeconomic targets. The targeted growth, Balisacan stressed, “shall be growth that is inclusive — that is, it is growth that creates more, better and green or resilient jobs to reduce unemployment and allow our people to earn decent incomes.” With a fast-growing economy of over 110 million people, the Philippines can serve as a “competitive launching pad” for companies eyeing the wider Southeast Asian region. “The Philippines is in the midst of reaping the ‘demographic dividend,’ where a growing and young working population can fuel economic growth for the next two to three decades,” Balisacan said. Foreign direct investments were said to have hit a net inflow of $10.52 billion in 2021, up by 54.2 percent year on year, after plunging 71.26 percent in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.