Malacanang assured over the weekend it is moving to address key concerns raised by the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) last week over the sharp decline in net foreign direct investment (FDI) flows for the first semester.
“The concerns they raised involved Executive and Legislative actions,” Secretary Edwin Lacierda said on Sunday.
The foreign chambers had cited a Bangko Sentral report that net FDI inflow for the first half of 2015 stood at $2 billion, or 40 percent lower than $3.4 billion in 2014 comparable period.
Lacierda told the BusinessMirror that “insofar as the Executive Department is concerned, we are addressing the concerns they have raised and we continue to monitor the developments in the areas they have mentioned.”
He noted that more road infrastructure are simultaneously being constructed to alleviate traffic congestion, citing the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road, referring to the skyway connecting the terminals.
Lacierda confirmed that new coaches are arriving for the overcrowded and ill-maintained Metro Rail Transit, adding that, “We are [also] expanding the Light Rail Transit lines.”
“Our airports are also being improved to minimize flight delays,” he added.
President Aquino’s chief spokesman, however, clarified that the Palace will “defer to the Legislature for their response” as to the Legislative actions that are needed to be done to address other JFC concerns.
Reacting to the JFC concerns, Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr., for his part, pointed out that for the past five years, the Philippines has been “a favored investment destination by dint of sound macroeconomic management anchored upon good governance.”
Still, Coloma assured that the Aquino government “continues to work on further improving the country’s competitiveness.” “Perhaps it is best to await the full-year results on the investment front,” he added.
The two officials issued the clarification after the JFC listed 10 “actions that can be taken in months ahead” to boost investor confidence, and among the top ones are: avoid recurrence of port congestion caused by truck bans; enact speedily pending measures such as Build-Operate-Transfer Act amendments and Customs modernization, as well as the passage of the Freedom of Information Act and the creation of a Department of Information and Communication Technology. It also aired concerns on the need to reduce metro traffic congestion and flight delays at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and increase flights at the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga.