THE administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has succeeded in getting much-needed investments into the Philippines to support job generation and economic growth.

Also, the Marcos administration now had 117 projects worth P2.5 trillion in the pipeline to be undertaken under the public-private partnership (PPP) framework.

Furthermore, the sound economic policies of the Marcos administration have resulted in more jobs created as the Philippine economy continues to grow.

When it came to investments, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the official foreign trips of President Marcos boosted the growth of foreign investments in the country.

Pascual said the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) report showed that net foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows in November 2023 rebounded by 27.8 percent, amounting to $1 billion, bringing the 11-month net FDI inflows to $7.6 billion.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also reported last week that investment pledges from foreign sources surged 127.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023 to P394.45 billion.

“Indeed, we are making it happen in the Philippines. The pipeline of projects initiated during President Marcos Jr.’s presidential visits, along with the goodwill fostered, is starting to yield tangible results as shown by the latest FDI report from BSP,” said Pascual. “From January to November last year, we observed a substantial rise in FDIs in manufacturing and a significant surge in FDIs originating from Germany.”

“Certainly, the presidential visits have been impactful for the Philippine economy, signaling to both local entrepreneurs and foreign investors alike the government’s commitment to fostering a conducive environment for economic prosperity. The Philippines has become a premier investment destination for foreign businesses in Asia,” Pascual added.

The chief of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier said President Marcos targeted the Philippines to be the second top destination of FDIs in Southeast Asia by the end of his term in 2028.

“We will keep our momentum to make more investments happen in the Philippines by turning investment pledges from presidential visits into reality. Each presidential visit is important and sets a foundation for us to build a pipeline of investment opportunities that will translate to job generation for our countrymen,” the Trade secretary added.

PPP projects in pipeline

For its part, the PPP Center said there were 117 projects worth P2.5 trillion in the pipeline for undertaking between the government and private sector.

“This is as of February 2. Particularly, we have a bulk of the projects still in the transportation sector because we are doing a lot of catching up,” PPP Center Executive Director Cynthia Hernandez said.

Hernandez said aside from transportation, other priority sectors included solid waste management, health and water.

“Out of the 117 projects, there are 15 that are expected to be approved in 2024,” Hernandez said.

Some of these projects would include the operations and maintenance of the Metro Manila Subway, North-South Commuter Rail, San Ramon Newport, University of the Philippines’ Philippine General Hospital in Diliman, Cagayan Valley Medical Center-Hemodialysis Center and the National Capital Region EDSA Busway project.

Other projects included the operations and maintenance of the following projects: Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, Davao City Bypass, Metro Rail Transit-3 and Light Rail Transit-2.

Unsolicited PPP projects for approval this year also included the rehabilitation, operation, maintenance and expansion of both the Puerto Princesa International Airport and the Iloilo International Airport; the upgrading, expansion, and operation and maintenance of New Bohol International Airport; the Long-Term Water Resource Development for Metro Manila Project; and the operation and maintenance of the Philippine Identification System.

“For 2025, we have these projects that are currently in the early stages of development. And the preliminary studies are expected to be completed. Once completed, they can be submitted by the implementing agencies for approval by 2025,” Hernandez said.

These projects included the New Cebu International Container Port, Air Navigation Services-Air Traffic Services Project, Philippine Automatic Fare Collection System, San Mateo Railway Project, Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry Project, North Integrated Transport System, Mindanao Railway Project Phase 3, North Long Haul Inter-Regional Railway Project and Davao City Bypass Construction Project.

The Laguna Lake Road Network PPP project, Department of Public Works and Highways Central Office Building Project, Iloilo-Capiz Aklan Expressway, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority Solid Waste-to-Energy project were also expected to be submitted for approval next year.

Unemployment down

One proof of the sound economic policies of the Marcos administration was the December unemployment rate, which marked the lowest since 2005.

The PSA said preliminary results of the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that the unemployment rate in December 2023 further went down to 3.1 percent from 4.3 percent in December 2022.

It was also lower than the 3.8 percent in November 2023 and the lowest recorded unemployment rate since the PSA introduced a new methodology for measuring the LFS in 2005.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos was estimated at 1.6 million — lower than the reported 2.22 million in December 2022.

Meanwhile, the Labor Force Participation Rate was at 66.6 percent or about 52.13 million Filipinos ages 15 and above, who were either employed or unemployed.

The country’s employment rate went up to 96.9 percent in December 2023, higher than the 95.7 percent a year earlier.

The number of employed Filipinos was recorded at 50.52 million in December 2023, higher than the number of employed persons in December 2022 at 49 million.

Mapa said industries with the biggest increase in employment include construction (+ 777,000), agriculture and forestry (+ 715,000), accommodation and food service activities (+ 498,000), transportation and storage (+ 174,000), and human health and social work activities (+ 140,000).

Underemployed persons, or those who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their current job or to have an additional job or to have a new job with longer hours of work, was at 6.01 million.

For the full year of 2023, the country’s unemployment went down to 4.3 percent from 5.4 percent in 2022.

When it came to economic growth, the country’s gross domestic product reached 5.6 percent in 2023 and was projected to range from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also targeted this year’s inflation rate to range between 2 to 4 percent. The inflation rate last year was 6 percent or slightly lower than the 5.8 percent of 2022.