Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos at the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition (PBC&E) of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)

Location The Manila Hotel in the City of Manila

Thank you very much, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual for your introduction. [Please be seated.]

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George Barcelon; the esteemed members of the Diplomatic Corps present with us here this evening; PCCI Council of Business Leaders Chairman Jose T. Prado; Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Dr. William Co and PCCI Directors and Officers; Philippine Business Conference Chairman Mr. Ferdinand Ferrer; the Director, Treasurer and Honorary Chairman PCCI Mr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.; all the very distinguished guests who are here gathered for this evening’s ceremony; ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

I, first of all, must congratulate the awardees for whom we have just recognized the different chambers around the country and the different LGUs around the country.

And I mentioned it specifically simply because I would like for those winners, those awardees, to understand that these awards are very important. And that these awards signify your efforts to make your communities a faster-growing, more progressive, more economically agile community, and in the face of our new global post-pandemic economy.

So in that sense, tama ‘yung mga dala ninyong pala na nakapalakas ang kanilang sigaw at palakpak dahil malaking kabuluhan ang inyong natanggap na mga award. [applause]

The challenge over the last few years was striking a delicate balance between the economy and public health, but always putting an important premium on keeping our communities safe from another outbreak.

With sure and steady steps, the government is now hard at work at recovering the many opportunities that we have lost prior to this global health crisis while, in the meantime, also navigating the waters of what we have all come to call the New Normal.

In this journey, our business sector has always been recognized as an important partner and a source of new and bold ideas on how we can bounce back and prosper in the long run.

I am very happy to be here with you today to join you on the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition, where policymakers, businesses, and industries can exchange ideas on current issues and business opportunities that we have ahead of us.

I thank the PCCI for your continued commitment to support the government by voicing [out] the interests and concerns of various businesses and the different sectors around the country.

We are very appreciative of the prepared Resolution that you have made that embody the policy recommendations and proposed reform agenda from different sectors.

I am much gratified that when I heard the enumeration of those 10 Resolutions that they are very much in line with the government’s thrust and the government’s directions that we feel will be the most advantageous for the Philippines.

And in that regard, I assure you that the concerned agencies will assess the feasibility and probability of success of these recommendations.

Of course, we recognize the fact that our businesses cannot thrive alone. Thus, it is my commitment to foster a sound environment where businesses can flourish and continue to be a driver of our economic growth.

I reiterate my vision of improving our business climate and elevating the status of the Philippines as a top investment destination through various endeavors.

As such, we continue to harmonize efforts of all Investment Promotion Agencies, government agencies, and local government units to effect greater synergies.

We also continue to help in the ease of doing business in the country. We are doing this by enhancing our digital infrastructure in order to streamline application processes of business permits, licenses, and other documentary requirements.

Moreover, we are committed to developing our renewable energy sector to ensure adequate power supply and alleviate rising electricity costs.

We do this by revising the Renewable Energy Law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations to secure energy supply in the country and attract foreign investments for renewable energy development. It is necessary that we make these changes because the technology for renewable energy has moved forward so quickly that we have to catch up with our regulations, with our monitoring of our renewable energy sector.

Last, but certainly not least, we [will] make a strong push towards infrastructure development with special emphasis once again on Public Private Partnerships in key projects.

As of August this year, we have already a total of 74 PPP projects in the pipeline, with a combined estimated cost of 2.25 trillion pesos. But we must do more because we need more. I thus invite all of you to take part in the great enterprise of building our nation.

These are just a few of the initiatives that this Administration is pursuing to enhance the business environment allowing the business sector to maximize the contribution to the revitalization of our economy.

We will need to work together in coming up with more infrastructure projects, more energy projects, more projects for our MSMEs, more projects for agriculture, all that will empower and strengthen both our economy and our nation.

Do know that the government is unwavering in its commitment to make the Philippines a viable option for businesses, both for local and foreign investors.

Many times, when we talk about new investment, the assumption is always that we are talking about foreign direct investment. Certainly, that is an important aspect of our development plans.

However, what we sometimes have been missing and I think it is something that we certainly recognize as a huge potential for the transformation of our economy, the development of local markets.

The Philippines is now a 107 million in population more or less. And that comprises a very large market that is undeveloped and with extremely, extremely good potential for strengthening and stabilizing our economy.

And that is why we have tried to foster programs and projects that will shift the contribution to GDP, not so dependent on the service side but perhaps on also the manufacturing side.

This will help us also in our trade and as we all know, no country grew wealthy except for trade.

And so that is why we feel that not only do we encourage foreign direct investment, not only do we encourage capital-intensive investments in our country, but we also very much must understand that the key, the driving force to begin all of this will be the local investors, the local businesses, and the local private sector companies that come into partnership with government to find the synergy that we all need for this new economy that we are facing.

Rest assured that we always take the necessary steps to strengthen the relationship of our businesses with the government, with consumers, and the general public.

Because despite extensive disruptions that we had to endure in the past two years, it has always been the entrepreneurs and the business sector who have steadfastly steered our direction towards economic success.

You are the nation’s agents of creativity, innovation, and progress — from the people who take the helm of multinational companies that shape our global economy; to the entrepreneur determined to make a mark with a business, maybe a small business in the province; and to the persevering merchant that we encounter on the streets dreaming of a better tomorrow for their children — all of you give us hope that we will, in the not so distant future, not only live in a country of opportunity but also in a land of golden harvests and of plenty.

Indeed, you will be the main driver of our success as we emerge from the setbacks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the shocks that the economy, the world economy has suffered in the past few months.

Nonetheless, all these we can face so long as we face them together in partnership.

That is why I look forward to see you forge new ties here and it is exciting to see the solutions that you will create to broaden our horizons ahead — one that will be teeming with opportunities that our people rightfully deserve.

After today, once deals have been closed, policies have been agreed upon, and bonds have been renewed, forged, all of us can proudly tell the world: The Philippines is indeed open and ready for business again. [applause]

Maraming, maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayong lahat! Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

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SOURCE: OPS-PND (Presidential News Desk)