Press Release
March 6, 2018

Legarda Hails Report 'PH Best Country to Invest In'

Senator Loren Legarda today said she sees a more robust economy and better opportunities for Filipinos with more investments coming in the country, citing a report that the Philippines is No. 1 among the best countries to invest in.

In a report published on the website of Business Insider, the Philippines ranked first among the "The 20 best countries to invest in now."[1] The report cited a ranking released by US News in February placing the Philippines on the No. 1 spot stating that, "In contrast to declining inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Southeast Asia as a whole, the Philippines continued to perform well, according to United Nations data."[2]

"We are gradually seeing the positive effect of the administration's sound economic policies. I laud the efforts of both the public and private sector, especially the President and his economic team. But more needs to be done in sustaining the inflow of investments in our country that will usher in more local jobs especially in the provinces," said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry's Board of Investments (DTI-BOI), it approved Php131.6 billion worth of investment projects in the first two months of 2018 alone. This is up by 402.3% compared to the same period last year. Investment registration performance in January-February 2017 was at Php26 billion.

In 2017, the BOI posted an all-time high of Php617 billion in committed investments, comprising of 426 projects that are expected to generate around 76,065 jobs upon full operations. The 2017 figure is up by 39.5% from the Php442 billion recorded in 2016.

Moreover, consistent with the BOI's 2017-2019 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) to encourage investors to locate in the countryside, 65% increase in investments was recorded in areas outside of the National Capital Region (NCR).

"All of these show the growing confidence of both local and foreign investors in our economy and could only result in growth also in the countryside and of our people. We see this to further improve especially with the government's infrastructure development agenda, the legislature's support through measures that will improve government processes and ensure ease of doing business in the country, and maintaining peace and order," Legarda said.

"As infrastructure constraints are being addressed by the government through the 'Build, Build, Build' program, which will be heavily supported by the recently-passed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), Congress will continue to pass measures that will help improve government processes," she added.

Legarda cited her proposed Innovation Act, which has been approved by the Senate on third and final reading. The measure aims to put innovation at the center of national development policies and make innovation a major driver of economic development.

"Once enacted into law, it will mandate all government agencies and local government units to improve efficiencies in addressing public transactions that impact on innovation, including reducing the number of days and costs of starting or expanding a business. It will eliminate regulatory barriers and cut red tape to boost innovation efforts," she explained.

"We see a very promising future for our country. In fact, our strong macroeconomic performance, solid domestic demand, inflow of FDIs, and consistent fiscal policies geared towards a sustained decline in the gross general government debt ratio invite a more robust trade relations with other countries. But all of these should be aimed at not only achieving impressive growth statistics but also, and more importantly, bringing the fruits of these investments to all Filipinos--to lift the poor out of poverty and improve the lives of all our citizens," Legarda concluded.***




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