INVESTMENT pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BoI) increased by 24 percent to P312.8 billion in the first seven months of the year from P252.32 billion in the same period in 2018.
In a statement on Tuesday, the BoI said approved foreign investments as of end-July reached P69.6 billion, up 348 percent from last year’s amount, while local investments rose by 2.7 percent to P243.2 billion.
The top five sources of foreign investments from January to July were Singapore (P35.4 billion), The Netherlands (P9.2 billion), Thailand (P8.6 billion), Japan (P5.8 billion) and the United States (P2.4 billion).
“Investors continue to signal their strong confidence in the Philippines and the Duterte administration despite the challenges generated by the global tensions among nations,” Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon Lopez said.
“This growth was still resilient enough to withstand the global demand downturn brought about by the lingering trade dispute between the US and China, the trade spat between Japan and South Korea, and other geopolitical tensions,” he added.
“We remain among the fastest-growing economies in Asia and we are among the few countries to even register a 1.5-percent export growth in July.
“Elevated inflation is now a thing of the past as the latest inflation rate eased to just 2.4 percent, the lowest in more than two years. We have improved 19 places further in the Global Innovation Index.
“With the recent signing of the Innovative Startup Act, we will encourage innovation that will make our products not only meet local demand, but ensure [that] it is [on] par with international standards to boost our exports.”
Among sectors, power projects continued to have the biggest investments with P195.1 billion in the January-to-July period, up 65.3 percent from P118 billion in the same period last year.
Investments in manufacturing grew by 132.6 percent to P46.1 billion from P19.8 billion, while those in information and communications surged by 9,680 percent to P33.2 billion from P340 million.
Investment pledges in the tourism accommodation sector reached P9 billion, up 618 percent from P1.3 billion, while those in the human health and social-work activities (hospitals) industry jumped by 37 percent to P1.8 billion from P1.3 billion.
Region 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces, or Calabarzon) secured the largest share of the pledges — P203.3 billion or 65 percent. Region 3 (Central Luzon) came next with P29.3 billion, followed by the National Capital Region with P11.7 billion.
Notable projects during the period include the P1.70-billion Airbus purchase by Cebu Pacific operator Cebu Air Inc.; the P1.4-billion, 9.4 megawatt hydropower project of At Dinum Co. in Nueva Ecija province; the P728-million hydropower facility of Coto Hydro Corp. in Zambales province; the Integrated Meat and Poultry Processing Inc.’s P410-million poultry dressing plant in Bataan province; and the P381-million low-cost housing project of Borland Development Corp. in Batangas.
“Our investments are still growing amid the international tensions. We still have a lot of pending projects that need thorough study and evaluation. I am still confident that by the end of the year, we are going to attain our target despite the global uncertainties,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.
“We assure foreign investors that the Philippines is a safe haven for their investments and they should take advantage of our very strong domestic demand and commit to long-term deals,” he added.