THE Board of Investments (BoI) said approved investment pledges in the first quarter of the year rose 60%, driven by power projects.

In a statement over the weekend, the investment promotion agency said project registrations in the three months to March totaled P243 billion, after coming in at P152.1 billion a year earlier.

Domestic investors accounted for P212.2 billion, up 40%. Approved foreign applications surged to P30.8 billion from P792.8 million a year earlier.

Electricity and power projects accounted for P148 billion worth of registrations, followed by manufacturing and information and communications technology projects at P43 billion and P33.2 billion respectively.

The biggest projects approved for the first quarter of the year are the St. Raphael Power Generation Corp.’s P96-billion 2×350 megawatt coal-fired thermal power plant in Calaca, Batangas; Rizal Wind Energy Corp.’s P47-billion renewable energy project; Metroworks ICT Construction, Inc.’s P33-billion telecommunications infrastructure project; Holcim Philippines, Inc.’s P12.6-billion Bulacan cement facility; Solid Cement Corp.’s P12.4-billion cement project in Antipolo City; United Pulp and Paper Co., Inc.’s P8.4-billion corrugated paper facility in Calumpit, Bulacan; and Robinsons Land Corp.’s P2.3-billion hotel in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

The Netherlands topped all foreign investors with P9.1 billion worth of investments. Thailand, Japan and the United States followed with P8.4 billion, P5.3 billion and P2.2 billion worth of investments.

The Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon) Region was the location for P162 billion worth of investment, followed by Central Luzon with P25.9 billion and the National Capital Region had P6.1 billion.

The BoI said this marks a “solid recovery from its January to February performance which declined 22.71% year on year to P101.72 billion.”

The Trade department-attached agency is targeting 2019 investment pledges to hit the P1-trillion mark, after posting a record P907.2 billion in projects registered in 2018.

“After generating a record-breaking [total] in approved investments last year, we are still sustaining the momentum this year due to steady, strong and positive investor sentiment here and abroad,” Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez was quoted in a statement as saying. — Janina C. Lim