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Philippines Investment Climate Improving

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Philippines Investment Climate Improving

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A House leader on Monday said the overall investment climate in the Philippines is improving especially with the administration’s efforts to shore up the economy under the Bagong Pilipinas brand of governance.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin made the remark in light of HSBC Global Research’s report that the Philippines’ reputation for attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) is “turning for the better” amid reforms that improved the country’s business climate.

Garin said the peace and order situation in the country is a major factor in boosting business confidence and investments.

“Yes, the investment environment is actually improving although marami pang kailangang improvements. At bakit ito nangyayari? Unang una siyempre if there is peace and order in our country, papasok ang mga investors (certain reforms are still needed. Why is this happening? First of all, if there is peace and order in our country, more investors will come in),” Garin said in a press conference.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. earlier noted that the number of crimes had gone down to 198,617 in 2023, lower from the 207,143 crimes recorded in 2022, and way lower from the 295,382 crimes in 2017.

The President said index crimes “have gone down threefold,” from 107,899 in 2017 to just 38,436 last year.

Aside from the decline in the country’s crime rate, Garin said the Bagong Pilipinas campaign is a step in the right direction to improve bureaucratic efficiency to encourage more investments in the Philippines.

Garin said efforts to reduce red tape and other bottlenecks in transacting with government will ensure that doing business in the Philippines becomes easier.

“Napaka importante nun sa investment environment, iyong mga one-stop shop, iyong mabilis na pagtugon sa pangangailangan, iyong hindi patutulugin ang mga papeles sa loob ng mga ahensiya ng gobyerno. These are all – malaki ang balik nito sa taong bayan (These are vital to the investment environment–these one-stop shops, the efficient delivery of public service, not letting documents sit in government offices for too long. All of these would provide excellent returns for the public),” she said.

The HSBC’s report highlighted the country’s “strong narrative of reform” and “a large sense of macroeconomic stability” for attracting investors to set up shop and participate in the Philippines’ development.

“Thanks to the country’s robust reform narrative, FDI sentiment in the Philippines is bound to improve in the years ahead and the general pessimism regarding the country’s FDI competitiveness ought to turn for the better,” it said.

Garin, meanwhile, said efforts to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution will make the Philippines more friendly to foreign investments and attract more investors to its shores.

She said one of the concerns of foreign investors is not being able to own land in the Philippines because the Constitution prohibits it.

“Kasi iyan nga, kitang-kita na may problema ang Constitution ng Pilipinas. Ang nagiging hadlang para magtake-off tayo ay ang ating sariling Constitution. Natural iyan, kasi walang perpekto (It is apparent that the Philippine Constitution has a problem. The barrier that prevents us from taking off is our own Constitution. It’s only natural because there is no perfect [Constitution]),” she added.

The House of Representatives has already approved on final reading Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, which aims to amend specific economic constitutional provisions related to public utilities, education, and advertising. (PNA)