By Claire Morales True, Managing Editor
HONOLULU/SAN FRANCISCO – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has secured US$672,300,000 in investment pledges from various sectors during his successful participation in the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting and related activities in San Francisco, California last week.
The investment pledges secured are US$400-million for the telecommunications sector; US$250-million for semiconductor and electronics; US$20-million in pharmaceutical and healthcare; US$2-million for artificial intelligence (AI) for weather forecasting; and US$0.3-million in renewable energy.
In Honolulu before departing for Manila, Marcos expressed optimism about the Philippines’ potential as a technological hub, capitalizing on available technological advancements and aided by the country’s young and talented workforce.
In a media interview, President Marcos was asked by reporters about his discussions with various US tech companies and how they can help the Philippines achieve such goals especially those related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
“We have a very big advantage of that because again, paulit-ulit kong sinasabi but talagang totoo, it’s our workforce. Dahil bata ‘yung workforce natin, magaling tayo sa tech. Madali para sa atin ang technology at siguro with the talent that we already have in the Philippines, kaunting upskilling na lang and we will already be at the forefront of this technology,” he said as a response.
“So that’s what we were able to explore and it just— it goes beyond just the application of technologies. It’s also how to open the markets to the different elements of the technology — the tech industry, such as the experts, the engineers, the coders, all of that,” the President pointed out.
Also, he said that he and his team learned many things about the thinking of American planners in the tech industry and about what part the Philippines can play.
There were also commitments made for continued discussions to put more details, Marcos said, stressing that one of the most exciting things was the opening or centering of the market around the Philippines to make the country a technological hub.
In California, Marcos has secured significant commitments in technological advancements across key priority sectors in the Philippines, which include the deployment of the first two Internet MicroGEO satellites dedicated to the Philippines.
He also received technology-related commitments particularly in the development of Asia’s largest AI-driven weather forecasting program for the Philippines, bolstering the country’s resilience against climate change through the agreement between the Department of Science and Technology and the US-based company, Atmo.
Also among the commitments concluded during Marcos’ APEC participation is the Philippines’ inaugural specialty oncology hospital that will enhance service efficiency and accessibility for Filipino patients seeking cancer care, which was a subject of an agreement between Ayala Corporation Health and the Varian Medical Systems.
The first US FDA-approved manufacturing facility in the Philippines, which will bolster the country’s global pharmaceutical industry presence, through an agreement between Lloyd Laboratories and Difgen, was also secured.
The agreement covering the 1st Phase for a project on sustainable energy, which will provide affordable and reliable power access through the agreement between Meralco and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, was also signed.
An additional investment of US$1 billion for the semiconductor industry is up for discussion with US companies.
The Philippines and the US have also agreed to work toward strengthening the Philippines’ semiconductor supply chain.
Speaker Martin Romualdez described the investment pledges as testament to the international community’s confidence in President Marcos’ leadership.
Romualdez said this accomplishment underscores Marcos’ dedication to advancing the economic interests of the Philippines and fostering partnerships on the global stage, noting that the pledges would open cooperation areas of particular importance to the Philippines.
“President Marcos Jr.’s adept leadership and diplomatic prowess were evident in the significant investment commitments garnered and making inroads for mutually beneficial cooperation with various sectors in the United States,” he said .
“There is no doubt that these investment pledges and the materialization of partnerships arising from the exploratory talks on the sidelines of the APEC Summit will have a positive impact on job creation, infrastructure development and overall economic growth of the country,” he added.
Romualdez expressed his gratitude to President Marcos for his exemplary representation of the Philippines and tireless efforts to attract investments that will benefit the Filipino people.
He said the House of Representatives is committed to working collaboratively with the Executive branch to ensure the smooth implementation of these investment commitments and partnerships.
“We support supporting any legislative measures necessary to create an environment conducive to the success of these endeavors,” Romualdez said.