THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) approved a record P1.14 trillion in investment pledges last year, thanks to the country’s strong fundamentals and steady business and consumer confidence, the Trade department said on Thursday.

The approved investments rose by a quarter from P915 billion a year earlier and were the highest in its 52-year history, it said in a statement.

The investment promotion agency seeks to further increase investment pledges by a tenth this year, Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s better to hit your target,” he said. “Let’s be conservative, 10% is better than a decline.”

The BoI breached its P1-trillion target for the year as early as October, with Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Dito Telecommunity Corp. as that month’s biggest investment.

Dito, a joint venture of Mr. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics Corp. with China Telecommunications Corp., is planning to launch commercial services within the year.

Full-year domestic investments made up the bulk or about 70% of the total.

Local investments slipped by less than a percent to P805 billion last year, according to the Trade department.

Foreign investments, on the other hand, more than tripled to P335.7 billion, it said.

The board added five more recorded projects from 2018 to end the year with 376. Employment generated by investments fell by a tenth from a year earlier to 61,622 jobs, it said.

The agency’s investment growth started as early as January, with that month’s committed investments almost doubling to P97.9 billion.

The biggest investments for 2019 included several telecommunication projects led by Dito’s P210-billion systems, followed by common tower provide ISOC Asia Telecom Towers’ P141.14-billion telecommunication infrastructure.

Investments also included Orion Pacific Prime Energy, Inc.’s P130-billion coal-fired power plant in Quezon province; St Raphael Power Generation Corp.’s P95.7-billion thermal power plant in Batangas; and the second and third phases of Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd.’s telecommunication projects worth P49.56 billion and P54.16 billion, respectively.

Other big-ticket projects last year included the P48.4-billion 603-megawatt renewable energy project of Rizal Wind Energy Corp., Metroworks ICT Construction, Inc.’s P33.1-billion broadband infrastructure and Solid Cement Corp.’s P12.5-billion project in Antipolo City.

Other notable projects included Vires Energy Corporation’s P35.24-billion gas-fired floating power plant in Batangas, Pan Pacific Renewable Power Phils. Corp’s P33.44-billion renewable energy development, Petron Corp.’s P10.9-billion solid fuel-fired power plant in Bataan, Barracuda Energy Corp.’s P7.6-billion wind power project in Northern Samar and Cebu Air, Inc’s P1.7-billion Airbus plane project. — Jenina P. Ibañez