Marcos visit to US may yield $3.9B in investments

 Marcos visit to US may yield $3.9B in investments
PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and US President Joseph R. Biden hold a bilateral meeting on September 22, 2022 in New York, USA. — OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY

PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s visit to the United States last week could yield almost $3.9 billion (P229 billion) in investments from several sectors including manufacturing, according to the presidential palace.

The business agreements and commitments could generate 112,285 jobs, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The estimates exclude potential investments from several American companies that Mr. Marcos and trade officials met while in New York, it said. “Some companies had expressed interest in considering new or further investments in the country, but their plans have yet to be firmed up.”

The investment pledges include those from the information technology and outsourcing sector, the palace said.

Mr. Marcos, who started his six-year term with protectionist pronouncements, on Wednesday said the Philippines is open to foreign investors, vowing to simplify business processes and cause the passage of investor-friendly legislation.

He also reaffirmed his push for public-private partnerships, saying both parties could leverage their resources.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said last week the Philippine economy would likely grow by 6.5% this year, citing increased domestic demand. This was higher than its 6% estimate months ago.

At the meeting of ADB governors in Manila on Thursday, Mr. Marcos said the country aims to develop an economy that is “green, sustainable, truly climate-resilient and responsive to people’s immediate needs.”

“While many things remain uncertain, one thing’s for sure — we can no longer return to the way things were,” he said in a speech. “It’s time for us to work together to bring about an even better normal.”

Mr. Marcos recognized the ADB’s efforts to ease the effects of the coronavirus on the Philippines, saying it had given the country a $3-million grant for medical supplies.

He also cited the lender’s quick-disbursing budget-support facility, which he said had helped countries in mitigating the “severe economic shocks caused by the pandemic.”

“It is through the bank’s assistance that we were able to push forward with projects in areas such as infrastructure, social reform and community development, and governance and institutional development,” he added.

Mr. Marcos said he expects the state’s relationship with the ADB would grow stronger in the coming years “to nurture development here in our country.”

Corruption, cronyism and debt greatly contributed to the country’s economic problems especially in the last years of the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos — Marcos Jr.’s father — according to think tank Ibon Foundation.

Critics have accused the Marcoses of living lavishly in the presidential palace while Filipinos suffered from a collapsing economy, which declined by 7.3% in 1984 and 1985.

Debt under the elder Mr. Marcos ballooned to $20 billion in 1980 from $2 billion in 1972, the year Martial Law was declared. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza