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BCDA, IPAs invite Aussie firms to invest in Central, Northern Luzon

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Chairman Delfin N. Lorenzana briefs Australian investors on the Marcos administration’s “Build Better More” program, as well as the BCDA’s crucial role in this massive infrastructure buildup. (BCDA photo)

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), together with Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) such as the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD), Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), Poro Point Management Corp. (PPMC), and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) conducted investment briefings in Australia to encourage more investments in the Philippines, particularly in Central and Northern Luzon. 

Led by BCDA Chairman Delfin N. Lorenzana, the Philippine delegation engaged with Australian investors through a series of business conferences and business-to-business meetings in the cities of Sydney and Brisbane during a five-day outbound mission from June 26 to 30. 

The investment briefings attracted close to 90 companies from different sectors, including manufacturing, housing, infrastructure, renewable energy, urban development, automotive, information technology, and education. 

“Given its sound macroeconomic foundations, strong growth outlook, and improving policies to ease the entry of foreign firms, investor confidence in the Philippines is also growing. It is evident that the Philippines is gaining more attention, and this is why we organized this gathering,” Chairman Lorenzana said. 

During the investment briefings, Chairman Lorenzana discussed the aggressive infrastructure push of the Marcos administration, which is seen to help decongest Metro Manila, generate investments, and create job opportunities for the people.

Part of this massive infrastructure program is New Clark City, a 9,450-hectare greenfield development poised to be the country’s first smart, green, and sustainable metropolis. It is easily accessible due to its proximity to the Clark International Airport and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

The investment roadshow also put a spotlight on the Subic-Clark corridor, a prime logistics hub accessible via air, sea, and land. An emerging center of economic growth just north of Metro Manila, the Subic-Clark corridor enjoys close proximity to the Clark International Airport (CRK), which is positioned to be Asia’s next premier gateway. 

“As an important gateway, CRK is linked to Manila in the south, to Subic in the west, and to the rest of Luzon. By 2025, tourist arrivals are expected to increase and Clark will serve as a major entry and exit point for Northern Luzon,” Chairman Lorenzana said. 

The investment briefings also gave Philippine authorities the opportunity to pitch the Poro Point Freeport Zone, a secure peninsula town in San Fernando, La Union envisioned to become a center of innovation in Northern Luzon. This special economic zone serves as one of the landing sites of the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project, which aims to provide affordable, high-speed internet access throughout the country. It also has its own community airport and seaport, making it an ideal investment destination. 

Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega urges the Australian business community to explore investment opportunities in the Philippines. (BCDA photo)

“We warmly invite businesses to continue investing, focusing on skills upgrading, and exploring avenues like AANZFTA (ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement) and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) as platforms to foster growth. We urge the private sector, as the engine of growth and innovation, to join us in seizing the opportunities and make it happen in the Philippines,” Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega.

Organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Australia and SCAD, the roadshow is an offshoot of the Pacific Business Mission to the Philippines held back in August 2022. The Pacific Business Mission allowed over 50 business representatives from Australia and New Zealand to explore investment opportunities in the Philippines by visiting various special economic zones, including New Clark City. 

The investment briefings also came at the heels of the Australia-ASEAN Business Forum 2023 on June 26, where Chairman Lorenzana introduced the BCDA’s key role in the country’s infrastructure development. 

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), approved investments of Australian companies in the Philippines during the first quarter of 2023 doubled to about Php450 million or approximately AU$12 million as compared to the same period last year. 

Meanwhile, latest PSA data also showed that Australia emerged as the 13th largest trading partner of the Philippines last April 2023, with US$335.27 million in total trade.