Philippines now open for business — Marcos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is now open for business, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday, as he vowed to attend to the needs of investors to encourage them to come to the country.  

Speaking during the opening of the new terminal building of the Clark International Airport, Marcos said it is time to talk about partnerships between the government and the private sector that were sidelined during the height of the pandemic.

“We have not been able to do it in the previous years for the simple reason that there was a pandemic. We did not do anything but help our countrymen, take care of the sick, that’s what we did then,” the president said in Filipino.

“Now that the problem caused by the pandemic seems to have eased, perhaps it’s time to go back to our plans about these kinds of PPP (public-private partnership) projects,” he added.  

Marcos said he relayed the same message during his recent working visit to New York, where he met with several business groups and corporate executives to provide them updates about the situation in the Philippines.

“The idea was to tell them…we are willing to change in terms of documentation, procedure, even structure, even legislation, to encourage you to come into the Philippines. Again, the simple message that underlay all that we did was that the Philippines is here, we are a good place to invest, we are probably the most vibrant economy — that is in Southeast Asia,” Marcos said.

“We understand the requirements and the needs of our potential investors and we will attend to do. We will do everything so that that partnership becomes to the advantage of both the private sector, the public sector, to the people,” he added.

Marcos said the new terminal of the Clark International Airport, whose operation and management project was the first PPP awarded under the previous administration, is a huge help to efforts to achieve economic recovery.

“And this facility is essentially a very strong signal that yes, indeed, we are open for business,” he said.  

According to Marcos, the opening of the facility would be another building block in the country’s goal to become a logistics center of Asia. The Philippines needs more airports to enhance tourism and boost economic activity, he added.

“We just opened a new terminal. It is state-of-the-art and this is one of the things that we will continue to do in the future to bring you all to come and be partners with the Philippines to help the lives of our people, to help the Philippine economy, and improve the lives of Filipinos,” he said.

Marcos cited the need to open regional airports while construction works in the airports in Manila, Bulacan, and Cavite are ongoing.

“Let us not force everyone to pass through Manila….This kind of project is exactly on point when it comes to the plans that we have,” the chief executive said.

The inauguration of the 110,000 square-meter terminal building of the Clark International Airport is part of the efforts to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila and promote economic activity in Central Luzon. The building can accommodate around eight million passengers every year, an improvement from the previous 4.2 million passengers annually.

Also present during the event were Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia-Frasco, Bases Conversion and Development Authority Chairman Delfin Lorenzana, and officials from the Luzon International Premier Airport Development.