THE Board of Investments (BoI) said approved pledges more than doubled to P645.3 billion in the first half of 2020, led by the San Miguel Holdings Corp. subsidiary’s airport project in Bulacan.
The BoI, which accounts for the bulk of planned projects registered with investment promotion agencies (IPA), said the approved pledges rose by 112% from P304.4 billion in the same period last year.
Domestic investments jumped by 166% to P626.7 billion from P235.6 billion in the first half of 2019. In contrast, foreign investments plummeted by 73% to P18.6 billion from P68.9 billion.
“The robust bounce back despite the pandemic shows the country’s resilience as we begin the transition to easing out the restrictions after a prolonged lockdown of the economy,” Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement.
“While we expect a lower GDP (gross domestic product) output in the second quarter than the first quarter due to the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), there are already signs that the economy is humming back to life with industry conditions becoming stable.”
The economy contracted by 0.3% in the first quarter, as the ECQ started in mid-March. The second-quarter GDP is expected to be worse, as most business activity remained shuttered for most of the period.
The 96 approved projects in the first half of 2020 are expected to generate 27,082 jobs, up 57.3% from the same period last year.
The construction or infrastructure industry saw the biggest investment with San Miguel Aerocity, Inc.’s P530.8-billion airport project in Bulacan. The project, which is touted as an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, will consist of four parallel runways, eight taxiways and three passenger terminal buildings on a 2,400-hectare property.
The BoI also reported a 785% spike in transportation investment to P86.7 billion. Real estate investments grew 16.5% to contribute P9 billion to the total. Investments in renewable energy/power, manufacturing, and accommodation reached P6.6 billion, P5.3 billion, and P3.8 billion, respectively.
Significant investments include Solarace 1 Energy Corp.’s P4.2-billion renewable energy project, followed by Primex Land, Inc.’s P3.6-billion housing project. Cebu Air, Inc. in March had two aircraft projects valued at around P3.3 billion each.
Other recent investments include Gigasol3, Inc.’s P2.4-billion 63 Megawatt solar project in Central Luzon, Royale Cold Storage North, Inc.’s P1.5-billion storage facility in Laguna, Heineken International BV’s P1-billion brewery plant, and Seaoil P654-million downstream petroleum project in La Union.
France led all foreign investment sources with P1.5 billion, followed by the Netherlands with P1.06 billion.
Asian countries took the third to sixth spots as investments from Japan, Malaysia, and India were valued at P790 million, P601 million, and P329 million, respectively.
Central Luzon took in the largest investment with P538.1 billion due to the Bulacan airport. The National Capital Region followed with P85.4 billion, followed by Calabarzon with P9.2 billion, Davao Region with P4.6 billion, and Northern Mindanao with P3.2 billion.
“It is important to highlight the strategic nature of the projects and their important contribution towards building a more modern Philippines. The project proponents have reaffirmed their commitment to the immediate implementation of these infrastructure, ICT and transport projects — towards completion in the medium-to long-term term. Prior to approval of the big-ticket projects, the BoI required them to provide written confirmation of their commitment,” Mr. Lopez said.
For full-year 2019, total approved commitments among investment promotion agencies rose 112.8% to P390.11 billion. BoI contributed 86.1% of total foreign direct investment pledges at P335.74 billion. — Jenina P. Ibañez