The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) is working closely with the Makati City Government in further strengthening the promotion and facilitation of investments in the city with the conduct of the Investments Promotion and Facilitation Webinar recently (November 11 to 12, 2021).

Remains to be the business epicenter of the Philippines, Makati City aims to generate more investments from foreign investors to continue further its economic prosperity by creating more business opportunities.

BOI Executive Director Bobby Fondevilla lauded Makati City for, in many years, it has retained its image as the financial center by championing “highly developed infrastructure” and public-private partnership.

“Makati grew as one of the most progressive financial centers and commercial hubs in the Philippines. With its highly developed infrastructures, world-class amenities, and innovative service delivery, Makati City became the preferred location of investors in the Philippines,” Executive Director Fondevilla said in his opening remarks.

In the said two-day webinar, the BOI officials imparted to the Makati local government unit officials various ways to attract more investors, particularly by equipping its economic front liners and policymakers.

“And more importantly, to learn promotional strategies that will help them boost the City’s competitiveness, which in turn help promote the City of Makati as an investment destination of choice, not only in the Philippines but in the world,” he added.

Executive Director Fondevilla also commended the technological improvement in Makati, especially its cash assistance distribution throughout the pandemic.

“Investment promotion is everybody’s business,” said Lubin R. De Vera Jr, Supervising Investments Specialist of the BOI’s Investments Assistance Service, underscoring the significance of aligning policies between the national government and the LGUs. Playing the role of the lead investment promotion agencies, the BOI can assist in linking up the local government units (LGUs) to particular investors.

“The number one salesman is the local chief executive,” said De Vera, as the LGUs play a critical role in accommodating the investors. “If the LGUs are not ready to host the investors, di po papasok si investor [an investor will not enter the market],” he said while emphasizing that non-fiscal incentives are better in investment promotion, as fiscal ones are only “time-bound.”
“We should be very careful in handling investors,” he stated, as according to the World Bank, investors are looking for peace and order, infrastructure, policy, incentives that reduce the cost of doing business specifically the local incentives.

Recently, the national government has taken major steps in improving the economic standing of the Philippines through the “Build, Build, Build” program coupled with the signing of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law lowering the corporate income tax down to 25 percent from 30 percent.

De Vera pointed out that the LGUs like Makati should turn their eyes on their respective Local Economic Development and Investments Promotion Offices (LEDIPOs), as these serve as mini-BOIs. LGUs should also be business-friendly and competitive to achieve robust and long-term growth, attract investments, generate jobs; and reduce poverty.

“Ang gusto ng investors is predictability, hindi pabago-bago ng policy [Investors want predictability, not a changing policy],” he said, pointing out the necessity of alignment of the Local Investment and Incentives Code (LICC) with the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP) to shore up the regional and national thrusts.

“Have a regular meeting and dialogue with the investors, so that you make them feel that they are important,” he advised the participants.

While Engineer Ninaloza Escorial, Deputy Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology and lead for the Framework for Smart Sustainable Communities and Cities, pointed out that Makati City should veer towards a Smart City by developing technologies.

“LGUs must provide Filipinos high-quality innovation of services to spur innovations and address complex urban problems,” the DOST official added. Engineer Escorial assured that the DOST will help LGUs to maximize the benefits of innovations through the Department’s 2028 roadmap to provide “all technologies our cities would need.”

On Day 2, Ferry Ann Brum, Chief Communications Officer of the BOI, discussed the strategies in crafting investment promotions, as she shared to the participants the process and methodology used in coming up with the “Make it Happen Campaign,” the new investment promotion campaign brand of the Philippines targeting 18 markets and promoting the key industries that have the most potential, IT-BPM, electronics, among others.

The creation of the unified Philippine investment campaign, Brum said, was guided by two best practice principles – being different and being emotionally led– and such can be emulated by the LGUs. “This is not just BOI campaign and other investment promotional agencies, this is your campaign too,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, Joanne Castaneda, a Senior Investments Specialist, shared the importance of investment facilitation, which is always associated with ease of doing business.

“If it’s built-in trust, then it will bear fruit,” said Castaneda, stressing that after the interest from investors has been generated, it is pertinent to provide assistance to build trust with them.

To have complemented efforts moving towards presenting Makati as a business destination in the Philippines and the world, Ernesto Delos Reyes, OIC-Director of the BOI’s Investments Assistance Service, assured that the BOI will continue to “open the lines” for the Makati LGU.

Furthermore, Maria Concepcion Yabut, Head of the International Relations Department of Makati City, said that it is incumbent for the city to maintain its economic ranking in the Philippines by drawing policy reforms to make the city “conducive and adaptive to economic practices.”

“We need active collaboration as we pursue economic development. Let’s make it happen, make it Makati,” she concluded.