President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. looks on as Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla (left) shakes hands with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (right) after the signing of a landmark deal on nuclear cooperation in San Francisco, California, Nov. 18, 2023. — PPA POOL PHOTO/MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

THE PHILIPPINES secured $672.3 million in investment pledges during President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s weeklong trip to the United States, according to his office.

The pledges cover telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI) for weather forecasting, semiconductor and electronics, pharmaceutical and healthcare, and renewable energy, Malacañang said in a statement.

The Palace said Mr. Marcos secured $400 million worth of investment commitments for the telecommunications sector alone.

“President Marcos also secured significant commitments in technological advancements across key priority sectors in the Philippines, which include the deployment of the first two internet MicroGEO satellites dedicated to the Philippines,” it said.

The semiconductor sector also received $250 million in investment pledges.

“An additional investment of $1 billion for the semiconductor industry is up for discussion with US companies. The Philippines and the US have also agreed to work towards strengthening the Philippines’ semiconductor supply chain,” the Palace said.

Last week, the US State department announced that Washington will collaborate with the Philippines “to explore opportunities to grow and diversify the global semiconductor ecosystem” under the US CHIPS Act’s International Technology Security and Innovation Fund, a $52-billion subsidy program for US semiconductor manufacturers and research.

The initial phase will involve a comprehensive assessment of the Philippines’ semiconductor ecosystem and regulatory framework, as well as workforce and infrastructure needs.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector got $20 million in investment commitments.

During his trip, Mr. Marcos witnessed the signing of a deal between Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (AC Health) and Varian Medical Systems to make cancer care more accessible to Filipino patients at the country’s first specialty oncology hospital. AC Health is nearing the completion of the Healthway Cancer Care Center in Taguig City.

The Philippines’ Lloyd Laboratories, Inc. and US-based Difgen Pharmaceuticals LLC, meanwhile, signed a deal covering the filing of abbreviated new drug applications and the marketing of jointly developed pharmaceutical products within the United States.

Lloyd Laboratories will also invest up to $20 million to build and operate the first US Food and Drug Administration-approved manufacturing facility in the Philippines.

The Philippines also secured investment commitments worth $2 million on AI for weather forecasting, and $300,000 for renewable energy.

The Department of Science and Technology signed a deal with US-based company Atmo to develop Asia’s largest AI-driven weather forecasting program for the Philippines, which faces challenges from climate change.

The Palace on Sunday said the Department of Information and Communications Technology had been ordered to work with satellite internet service Starlink to boost internet connectivity in the country.

Among the key partnerships secured by Mr. Marcos during his trip is an agreement that would pave the way for Washington to export nuclear technology and materials to the Philippines.

US-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. and Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) signed a memorandum of agreement for a pre-feasibility study on the potential use of micro-modular reactors in the Philippines.

Mr. Marcos said economic partnerships are a key component of Philippines-US relations.

“That encompasses not only security concerns, but also economic concerns because the thinking in this day is that you cannot be strong and you cannot be able to defend yourself if you are economically weak,” he told reporters in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday.

As part of his weeklong trip to the US, Mr. Marcos attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting and other events in San Francisco. He also visited Los Angeles and Hawaii. — K.A.T. Atienza