PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. invited international investors on Wednesday to take part in the Philippines’ infrastructure program.

“We welcome foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunities presented in our infrastructure program,” he said in a speech at the 10th Milken Institute Asia Conference in Singapore.

“We open our doors to international developers and construction companies who wish to take part in the infrastructure development of our country,” he added.

Mr. Marcos said the government actively encourages public-private partnerships, which “demonstrate our commitment to provide services to our public while delivering goods and returns to our investors.”

The government plans to spend 5.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) or about P1. 29 trillion on infrastructure this year. Infrastructure spending is expected to come in at 5-6% of GDP until 2028.

Mr. Marcos said the government’s “commitment to connectivity is unwavering,” citing projects lined up under the Build, Better, More infrastructure program.

Investors should consider the Philippines considering its “strong (economic) fundamentals,” he said.

He said the Philippines hopes to grow its economy by 6% this year.

“Our growth story is underpinned by strong domestic demand and increasing fixed capital investment as a result of upbeat domestic activity and improved business confidence,” Mr. Marcos said.

“Moreover, the Philippines’ strategic location within Asia, coupled with our membership in regional trade agreements, positions us as a gateway to countless possibilities,” he added, citing the country’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. 

“From digital and renewable energy to manufacturing and tourism, we are a nation on the rise, ready to collaborate with partners who see the potential that we hold in the Philippines.”

Mr. Marcos also urged investors to “tap into our increasingly digital economy.”

Citing the country’s “English-speaking workforce that has propelled us onto the global stage,” Mr. Marcos said several data centers already operating in the Philippines including those of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta, among others. 

“We are the number one country of choice for the delivery of customer support (to) the healthcare services and one of the top destinations for outsourcing overall, second only to India,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Marcos touted the Maharlika Investment Fund, which he said could drive “economic development through strategic investments both domestically and overseas.” 

In the question and answer portion of the event, Mr. Marcos said his government considers the wealth fund as a means of reducing dependence on foreign loans.

“We… started to worry about borrowing,” he said. “Although our borrowing in terms of GDP is not as high as maybe our neighboring countries, we are at about 62.3% up to 63% of GDP… for us that is high.”

“So we need to invest more without increasing our borrowing,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza