THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) has seen a 155% rise in approved investments for the first quarter (Q1) to P463.3 billion, with 68 approved projects, mainly in the renewable energy sector. 

Local investment approvals for the period showed a significant increase of 68%, amounting to P297.9 billion, compared to the P177.3 billion recorded in the same period last year, the BoI said in a statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, foreign investment approvals saw a massive surge of 3,722%, reaching P165.4 billion compared to P4.33 billion recorded last year.

The BoI is an investment promotion agency under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

According to the BoI, the renewable energy sector had the highest investment approvals among sectors during the period, increasing by 156% to P440 billion, followed by manufacturing, which surged by 416% to P17 billion.

Other leading sectors in terms of investment approvals include administrative services at P3.7 billion, transportation and storage at P1.2 billion, and agriculture at P929 million. The investment approvals in the first quarter were expected to generate 16,719 local jobs.

Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Alfredo E. Pascual said the first quarter investment approvals reflected the stronger investor interest in the Philippines.

The BoI is on track to meet its P1.5 trillion investment target for 2023, he noted.

“With investment prospects being very positive, and as we continue to receive serious interest from global investors, we are definitely on track to meeting our new annual investment target of P1.5 trillion,” Mr. Pascual said.

Among the top projects approved in the first quarter were the P392.4-billion offshore wind farm projects of German-owned wpd Philippines in Cavite, Negros Occidental, and Guimaras, followed by the P36.9-billion solar energy project of Filipino-owned Barracuda Energy Corp. in the Ilocos Region.

Mr. Pascual said the BoI is eyeing more investments in renewable energy following the amended implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act, which allowed full foreign ownership in renewable energy projects.

“The number of renewable energy projects coming in is concrete evidence that we are on our way to becoming a global hub for sustainability and green projects, aligned with the national government’s policy of promoting cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy,” Mr. Pascual said.

On foreign investments, Germany contributed the most at P157 billion, followed by the Netherlands at P2.7 billion, the United States at P1.2 billion, Japan at P524 million, and the United Kingdom at P293 million.

Locally, investments in Western Visayas had the biggest share at P293.3 billion, followed by Calabarzon at P112.7 billion, Ilocos Region at P38.7 billion, Davao Region at P3.6 billion, and Eastern Visayas Region at P3.6 billion.

Mr. Pascual attributed the higher approved investments in the first quarter to the country’s economic performance.  The gross domestic product (GDP) in the first three months is seen to grow by 7.1%, he noted.

The GDP data is set to be released by the Philippine Statistics Authority on May 11.

“The steady growth is proof of the government’s resolve to further improve the country’s business environment through investment-friendly policies. We shall continue with our aggressive investment promotion campaigns as investments are also set to provide higher quality and better-paying jobs for Filipinos,” Mr. Pascual said. —Revin Mikhael D. Ochave