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

INVESTMENT COMMITMENTS approved by the Board of Investments (BoI) reached P607.22 billion as of April 17.   

BoI Director for Investment Policy and Planning Service Sandra Marie S. Recolizado said that the investment promotion agency approved a total of 117 projects, which mostly came from domestic investors.

“Our total approved investments increased by 15% because last year, from January to April, we recorded P527.24 billion worth of investment approvals, while for January to this week, we already have P607.22 billion,” Ms. Recolizado said during a media briefing on Friday.

Domestic investors accounted for 80% or P494.37 billion of the total approved investment pledges during the January to April 17 period.

Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Alfredo E. Pascual said rising domestic investments signal the improving confidence of local investors in the economy.

“We should not belittle that most of the investments are domestic because that is really what we are encouraging, that our domestic investors commit their capital to projects in the Philippines rather than bringing out their money or capital outside the country,” Mr. Pascual said in mixed English and Filipino.

In his recent trips abroad, particularly in Vietnam, the Trade chief said he noticed that a lot of Philippine companies and enterprises are investing overseas.

“That is why we should celebrate that local investors are investing in the Philippines because foreign investors would also look into that,” Mr. Pascual said.

“They will question if the local investors, who know the innards of the country, do not invest in the Philippines. What I just want to highlight is that local investment is as important as foreign investment,” he added.

In terms of sectors, Ms. Recolizado said that the majority of the projects are in renewable energy.

“The biggest project that we have approved is Ahunan Power, Inc.’s project… and the second-largest project that we have approved is the Ivisan Windkraft Corp.’s project.

Ahunan Power will develop a P296.98-billion,1,400-megawatt (MW) hydropower resource and pumped storage hydroelectric power plant in Pakil, Laguna. It is 100% Filipino owned. 

Meanwhile, Ivisan is undertaking a P83.7-billion offshore wind project in Cavite. The project is 75% owned by Singaporean investors.

Investments in renewable energy projects increased after the Philippine government allowed full foreign ownership in the sector starting November 2022.

Asked if there are still projects set to be approved in the BoI’s management committee meetings this month, Ms. Recolizado said: “There are many projects that have filed applications with us but are still being evaluated.”

“These projects in the pipeline are for checklisting, which means that we have not accepted them yet, but we already have interaction with them,” she added.

Last year, the BoI approved P1.26 trillion in investments, 66% or P763.22 billion of which are foreign investments. For this year, the BoI has an internal target of approving P1.3 trillion to P1.5 trillion in investments. — Justine Irish D. Tabile