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Telco boosts investment pledges 126.1% over 8 months

To further increase the capacities of our manufacturing base, we will continue to aggressively promote increased bilateral business ties with our biggest trading partners despite their trade wars

AJ Bajo

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Asia Telecom Towers Inc. plans to build 25,000 cellular towers.

Investment pledges approved by the country’s Board of Investments (BoI) in the January to August period surged 126.1 percent to P609.04 billion from P269.3 billion in the same period last year on the back of billion-peso commitments in the information and telecommunications sector.

BoI’s data released on Wednesday showed domestic investments comprised the bulk of the period’s pledges, rising by 61.2 percent year-on-year to P404 billion from  P251 billion in 2018. On the other hand, foreign investments skyrocketed 1,016 percent to P204.5 billion from P18.3 billion.

Approved investments in August alone was up 1,640.9 percent to P296.2 billion from just P17 billion in the same month, 2018.

“The August figure of investment approvals nearly matches investments approved for the first seven months of 2019, amounting to P312.8 billion. This shows big-ticket projects have begun to roll in and proves that the Philippine economy remains resilient in attracting investors despite the global slowdown,” Department of Trade and Industry and BoI Chairman Ramon Lopez said.

Investments in the information and communication sector soared to P308.8 billion from just P340 million last year as the country jacks up digital transformation efforts. Approved pledges in this sector included the P141.1-billion infrastructure project of ISOC Asia Telecom Towers Inc. The company plans to build 25,000 cellular towers.

Philippines Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd., Inc.’s three-phase project costing P134.5 billion was also approved, while Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc.’s P16.7 billion cement facility in Rizal also secured the BoI’s nod.

Meanwhile, the power sector is still one of the top investment areas with 50 percent higher approved pledges at P195.1 billion. The tourism sector secured P9.2 billion worth of investments, up 636 percent, while the hospitals segment booked 69.7 percent higher investments at P2.3 billion.

The BoI said 98 percent of the pledges are for projects situated outside of Metro Manila, which are also seen to generate 37,524 jobs at the start of its operations.

By source, Singapore investors still topped with investments from the country amounting to P170 billion, followed by The Netherlands at P9.2 billion, Thailand at P8.6 billion, Japan at P6 billion and the United States at P2.4 billion.

Lopez said the country’s manufacturing sector weathered the downward trend in the industry as approvals for the sector rise 189.2 percent to P62.9 billion over the eight-month period from P27.9 billion in the same period last year.

“To further increase the capacities of our manufacturing base, we will continue to aggressively promote increased bilateral business ties with our biggest trading partners despite their trade wars.

But at the same time, we will also promote import substitutions by exporting more to other markets as we diversify,” he said.

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