THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) said on Tuesday that total approved investments reached a record PHP 1.16 trillion so far this year, thanks to a surge in renewable energy projects as the sector was opened up to full foreign ownership.
In a statement, the BoI said it had greenlit PHP 1.16 trillion as of Dec. 18, 59% up from PHP 729 billion approved in 2022.
“There are three more projects worth about PHP 350 billion that are currently being assessed and, if they are able to comply with both the substantive and transparency requirements, they may be able to make it to the BoI Board and Mancom deliberations on Dec. 28 — our last for the year,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said in a statement.
The PHP 1.16-trillion figure so far is still 29% below the revised PHP 1.5-trillion investment approval target set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the year. The DTI earlier upwardly revised the BoI’s initial PHP 1-trillion target for 2023.
“The BoI hitting PHP 1.16 trillion for 2023 reaffirms strong investor confidence in the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. — their responsiveness to the policy initiatives of the President and the effectiveness of the aggressive investment promotion activities,” Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Alfredo E. Pascual said.
“We are all-the-more optimistic about opportunities that lie ahead in 2024, with the BoI poised to further catalyze smart- and sustainability-driven investments in the country,” he added.
Domestic approvals hit PHP 398.76 billion, accounting for 34% of the total approvals, and 26% higher than the year-ago figures.
On the other hand, foreign investment approvals soared by 452% to PHP 763.22 billion this year.
The BoI said it approved PHP 968.14 billion worth of investments for the renewable energy and power sector, accounting for 83.45% of the total for the year.
This was more than double the PHP 409.03 billion investments approved a year ago, as the Philippine government allowed full foreign ownership in the renewable energy (RE) sector starting November 2022.
Foreign nationals and foreign-owned entities are now allowed to explore, develop and use RE resources in the country such as solar, wind, biomass, ocean or tidal energy. Foreign ownership of RE projects was previously limited to 40%.
“Noteworthy projects approved for January to December were seven offshore wind power projects located in Cavite, Laguna, Dagupan, San Miguel Bay, Negros, and Northern Samar, amounting to a total of PHP 759.84 billion,” it added.
Mr. Pascual, in June, said that investments in renewable energy projects could make up about a third of the agency’s investment approval targets for the year.
Meanwhile, the BoI approved PHP 96.16 billion worth of projects in the information and communication sector this year.
The manufacturing sector had PHP 22.03 billion worth of approved investments, while infrastructure (toll roads) had PHP 20 billion, and PHP 15.63 billion was for mass housing.
The BoI said these investment approvals are expected to generate 47,195 jobs from a total of 303 projects.
In terms of domestic investments, Western Visayas made up the largest share with PHP 316.89 billion worth of investments, followed by Calabarzon (PHP 211.89 billion), Bicol Region (PHP 162.92 billion), Eastern Visayas (PHP 128.62 billion) and Ilocos Region (PHP 122.18 billion).
Meanwhile, foreign investments from Germany contributed the largest share with PHP 393.28 billion, followed by the Netherlands with PHP 333.61 billion, Singapore with PHP 17.38 billion, and the United States with PHP 3.38 billion. — A.H. Halili