Marcos Jr. administration

DTI links foreign investment spike to Marcos’ overseas trips

Dwight de Leon

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DTI links foreign investment spike to Marcos’ overseas trips

FOREIGN TRIP. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos during the opening ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in September 2023.

Presidential Communications Office

A bulk of the foreign investments from January to September 2023 are in renewable energy, says Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo. The government removed foreign equity restrictions in the renewable energy sector beginning December 2022.

MANILA, Philippines – Two days before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. flies to Riyadh for his ninth foreign trip of 2023, his administration touted the spike in foreign investments, which it linked to his numerous presidential overseas visits.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said the Board of Investments logged P427 billion in foreign investment approvals from January to September 2023, a 4,150-percentage-point spike from the same period in 2022.

“If we would look at it, the presidential visits have a direct impact on the foreign investments portion of the approvals of the Board of Investments,” Rodolfo said in a Malacañang press briefing on Tuesday, October 17. “This is a big deal if you look at…which countries the investments are coming from. There is direct linkage to presidential visits.”

Rodolfo also attributed the spike to “government initiatives” such as the removal of foreign equity restrictions on renewable energy. This was provided under Department of Energy Circular No. 2022-11-0034 dated November 15, 2022, which took effect on December 8, 2022. The circular amended the implementing rules and regulations of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

He said a bulk of the foreign investments are in the area of renewable energy and from European investors.

Rodolfo said the top investor came from Germany, comprising 80% of the investments, followed by Japan and South Korea. Marcos made a state visit to Japan in February.

“He didn’t go to Germany, but he went to Brussels, where he had roundtable discussions and fora. We had separate roundtable discussions on renewable energy projects,” Rodolfo said, referring to Marcos’ trip to Brussels, Belgium, in December 2022 for the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit.

“In the past, we were not a darling of EU countries because of some reasons. But now, when the President said we are open for business, and they see policy reforms in the Philippines, they come in,” he added. 

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show nonresident investments in the Philippines from January to July this year dropped by 14.7%, compared to the same period in 2022.

Marcos’ two-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, October 19, will be for the inaugural summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council. It will be his 15th overseas trip since he rose to the country’s top post in June 2022. 

Countries he has visited this year include China, Switzerland, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

In 2022, Marcos spent over P392.3 million in international travel. For 2024, the Office of the President is seeking P1.408 billion for trips and state visits.

Malacañang has justified the President’s trips abroad, with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin saying these “will yield job-creating investments that will hasten our post-pandemic economic recovery.” – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.