Philippine flags line the road in the City of Dasmariñas in Cavite, June 2, 2023. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

INVESTMENT APPROVALS by the Board of Investments (BoI) more than doubled as of mid-May, led by renewable energy projects.

The Board of Investments (BoI) said it approved investment pledges worth P532.27 billion from 106 projects as of May 18, 158.72% higher than the pledges worth P205.73 billion from 86 projects a year ago.

This puts the BoI on track to hit its target of P1.5 trillion worth of investment approvals for this year.

Ceferino S. Rodolfo, BoI managing head and Trade undersecretary, said the new investment pledges were mostly in renewable energy projects as the government allowed 100% foreign ownership in the sector.

“Most of the projects registering with us are renewable energy projects. The Department of Energy (DoE) is no longer endorsing coal projects,” Mr. Rodolfo told reporters in Makati City last week.

Last year, the Philippines opened its renewable energy sector to full foreign ownership. Prior to this policy, foreign ownership of renewable energy projects was capped at 40%.

“When President (Marcos) instructed, and the DoE removed the ceiling on foreign equity participation in renewable energy, (the investments increased),” Mr. Rodolfo said.

Some of the renewable energy projects approved by the BoI include a P95-billion project by German-owned company wpd; renewable energy projects in Negros Occidental, Cavite, and Guimaras; solar projects in Pangasinan; a hydropower project in Kalinga; and a solar power project in Isabela.

BoI data showed foreign investments stood at P403.86 billion as of May 18, which accounted for 75.9% of the total. This is significantly higher than P5.63 billion in foreign investments a year ago.

Local investments, on the other hand, declined by 35.8% to P128.41 billion as of mid-May from P200.11 billion last year.

“Our foreign investments are increasing. Before, the BoI had a ratio of 80% local and 20% foreign investments. Now, I think it is already reversed,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rodolfo said the BoI still has P1 trillion worth of investment leads in the pipeline but declined to provide details.

Last year, the BoI approved P729-billion approved investments, 11% higher than the P655.4-billion investment approvals in 2021. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave