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Tourism, power, agriculture front and center in business forum

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FOREIGN BUSINESS CHAMBERS are looking to help boost “big winner sectors” tourism, agriculture and power through discussions in their annual forum this year.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) also expects to tackle the role of business in the government’s infrastructure drive as it updates its policy briefs at its eighth annual Arangkada Philippines Forum titled “Turning on the T.A.P.” — referring to tourism, agriculture and power — at the Manila Marriott Hotel on Nov. 21.

At the forum, one panel, will be addressing the government’s decision to include more public-private partnerships (PPP) on its revised Build, Build, Build flagship infrastructure list.

The government announced earlier this month that it is increasing infrastructure projects to 100 from 75, and PPP projects on that list to 26 from nine.

“The three sectors are included in what the JFC has identified as the ‘seven big winner sectors’ for investments and inclusive growth,” JFC Senior Adviser John D. Forbes said in a mobile phone message on Friday. “We also haven’t done policy briefs on these sectors. Last year we released three on infrastructure and one on creative industries.”

JFC’s seven “big winner” sectors are manufacturing and logistics, business process management, infrastructure, mining, agribusiness, creative industries and tourism.




European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) President Nabil Francis said in a text message that “the ECCP seeks to address and ensure proper implementation of ecological standards for the promotion of responsible tourism.”

He added that “the timely implementation of the Build, Build, Build program as well as other projects related to tourism and agriculture infrastructure becomes increasingly crucial to the competitiveness and growth of the said sectors.”

The ECCP is also looking to help improve agriculture’s resilience and financing, as well as enhance regulatory governance.

“The Chamber also seeks to promote the use of cleaner and more sustainable energy sources to meet the increasing power demand of the Filipino population. This is through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, as well as further development of the renewable energy sector,” Mr. Francis said.

The program will begin with remarks from American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President James Wilkins, followed by speeches from Mr. Forbes and Management Association of the Philippines president Rizalina G. Mantaring.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade will then present the department’s key reforms and projects.

Each of the three sectors will have presentations and panel discussions.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. will lead discussions on tourism, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar will lead the panel on agribusiness, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on power and Public-Private Partnership Center Executive Director Ferdinand A. Pecson on PPPs.

House Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayyetano will deliver the forum’s closing keynote.

JFC last year discussed water policy, roads and railways, seaports and shipping, and creative industries.

JFC offered 18 policy recommendations for roads and railways, including improvement of right of way acquisition; restructuring regulatory agencies and providing adequate resources; maintaining high levels of public and private sector investment in needed infrastructure; and conducting robust public-private partnership and privatization programs, among others.

On water policy, the JFC called the government to appoint a water czar; finalize and implement a unified financing framework for water supply and sanitation works; and expand wastewater treatment coverage through adoption of new technologies, among others.

For seaports and shipping, the JFC recommended building strategic regional clusters around several ports and airports; reducing domestic shipping costs and tapping the potential of cruise tourism, among others.

JFC also encouraged government to incentivize creative hubs as places for incubation, production, education, and research and development, declare creativity as a national priority, and promote new models of creative tourism, among others. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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