WASHINGTON, D.C.— As President Benigno S. Aquino III was inviting potential investors at the Philippine Investment Forum 2013 on Tuesday, March 12, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. did his pitch as well to shore up investor’s support in the government’s push for pubic-private partnership projects at a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“The Philippine government remains committed to driving infrastructure development as it recognizes its importance to future rapid and sustainable economic growth,” the ambassador told potential investors on Monday, March 11, 2013.
In his presentation “Philippines: Opportunities and Challenges in Infrastructure Investment,” Ambassador Cuisia urged investors to take another look at the Philippines and take advantage of the country’s unprecedented growth that has made it the s0-called rising star of East Asia.
Ambassador Cuisia said that under the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, the government of President Benigno S. Aquino III seeks to not only accelerate infrastructure development but also provide safe, efficient, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable infrastructure.
With the 6.6 percent growth in GDP, which was the highest in Southeast Asia in 2012, Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippines can be expected to continue increasing infrastructure spending to as much as 5 percent of GDP by 2016. Last year, the Philippines allocated 2.6 percent of GDP for infrastructure spending from 1 percent in 2005.
“There is no doubt we need to invest in infrastructure through smart and transparent spending and promoting public-private partnership projects which have attractive incentives,” he said citing among others, the income tax holidays and duty free importation of capital equipment that potential private sector partners can avail themselves of.
Ambassador Cuisia said there are nine ongoing private-public infrastructure projects in various parts of the country, namely: Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway Link Road Project; School Infrastructure Project Phases I and 2; Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension; Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway Phase II; Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center; Rehabilitation of the Angat Hydro-Electric Power Plant Auxiliary Turbines 4 and 5; Automated Fare Collection System; and the Mactan Cebu International Airport New Passenger Terminal Building.
Aside from public-private partnership ventures in infrastructure, Ambassador Cuisia said foreign investors can also pursue projects in the Philippines on agriculture/agribusiness and fishery; creative industries; shipbuilding; mass housing; iron and steel; energy; motor vehicle manufacturing; exploration, mining, quarrying and processing of minerals; refining, storage and marketing of petroleum products; and ecological solid waste management, among others.
Public-Private Partnership. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. presents the challenges and opportunities in infrastructure investments in the Philippines in a panel discussion on Monday, 11 March 2012, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. (Philippine Embassy Photo by Lilibeth Almonte-Arbez)