Marcos pitches Maharlika Investment Fund, tech at Asia Summit


STRONG economic fundamentals, the soon-to-be implemented Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), and a thriving tech ecosystem headlined President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. call for new investments during the 10th Asia Summit of the Milken Institute in Singapore on Wednesday.

He particularly pitched the MIF, the country’s first sovereign fund, which he said will help draw investments and build additional supporting infrastructure for manufacturing without drawing additional government borrowings.

The chief executive urged the participants to consider the country as an investment destination with its fast-growing economy based on last year’s GDP data, strong domestic demand, skilled workforce and investor-friendly policies.

“The Philippines is open for business. We invite you to join us in shaping a brighter future for us all,” Marcos said in his keynote address at the summit.

He said among the country’s top sectors open for investments are on renewable energy, tourism as well as digital services.

“We are the number one country of choice for the delivery of customer support and to healthcare services. And one of the top destinations for outsourcing overall second only to India,” Marcos said.

“Several data centers are already operating in the Philippines including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta amongst others. Yours could be the next one,” he added.

‘Working’ investment

TO help boost the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, the Marcos administration is now eyeing to draw more investments and build infrastructure for it.

On the MIF, “I think you are familiar with the concept that money cannot sit in the bank and do nothing. It must work. And so that is our way of putting that to work and partnering with private sector partners or even G2G [government to government] partners without a worrisome increase of our borrowings and with hopefully a sufficient fund,” Marcos, when interviewed by Steven Ciobo Stonepeak managing director at the summit.

The MIF will be managed by the Maharlika Investment Corporation, which is currently being formed and will be “professional fund managers.”

“It will be run as a fund. It is not run by the government,” Marcos said.

Business incentives

THE President assured companies that will operate in the country of several advantages, including access to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement.

This is on top of the country’s tax breaks and robust legal frameworks that safeguard the interests of foreign investors.

Marcos also said the country is currently expanding its electricity supply, which includes renewable energy, to bring down the prices of power and it is also in the process of a frenetic digital transformation.

“The Philippine tech ecosystem is thriving, marked by a dynamic startup culture and advancements in e-commerce in fintech, in digital services, which have flourished during the pandemic,” Marcos said.

He noted the 85.16 million internet users in the Philippines, which represents a high Internet penetration rate of 73.1 percent.

“The growth of the country’s digital economy bodes well for international companies who wish to tap into our increasingly digital digital economy,” Marcos said.

The President delivered his speech in the summit organized by the Milken Institute before chief executives officers, top investors, thought leaders and influencers, who participated in the event.

The Milken Institute is an American non-profit and nonpartisan think tank that publishes research and hosts conferences that apply market-based principles and financial innovations to social issues.

Image credits: AP/Andrew Harnik