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SINGAPORE —During the 17th Asia Pacific Conference of German Businesses (APK) held in Singapore on 14 November 2022, Trade Secretary Fred Pascual identified infrastructure connectivity as a potential area of collaboration between German businesses and the Philippines. Likewise, he identified transport logistics, renewable energy, and sustainable development as part of the Country’s development interests.
During the panel, the Trade Chief shared that the Philippines aims to facilitate greater private sector engagement and involvement.
“With the new administration’s program—Build, Better, More (BBM), the government will be inviting the private sector, local and foreign, to participate in infrastructure development in the Philippines. We recognize the key role played by the private sector in enhancing government initiatives for infrastructure advancement through public-private partnerships (PPP). In line with the Philippines’ development goals, the Philippine transport and mobility sector remains a key focus in the Country’s infrastructure investments, with particular interest on rail systems and expansion and improvement of ports and airport development and operations”, Secretary Pascual said.
Aside from physical infrastructure projects, Secretary Pascual also shared that one of the immediate priorities of the Philippine government is to improve the Country’s digital connectivity.
“Philippines is looking to expand its digital reach, especially in many isolated areas, providing everybody an equal opportunity to participate in the national economy as well as the regional. Further, the government is in pursuit of an e-government, with the intention of making government services efficient and easily accessible to citizens, investors, and businesses that would like to participate in the growth that we are expecting in the Philippine economy”, he added.
Meanwhile, with disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic spillovers of the Russia-Ukraine War, supply chains have shifted from economic powerhouses like China and the United States to other emerging economies, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Secretary Pascual stated that the Philippines is trying to take a neutral position, reiterating President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ statement that the Philippines is a “friend to all, enemy to none”. He emphasized that with the growing complexities of the geopolitical landscape and shifting supply chains, partnerships serve as pillars in boosting economic activities enabling the participation of firms on a global and regional scale.
The participation and attractive financing offered by the European Union (EU) Global Gateway initiative and German and European companies may assist in accelerating the resolution of infrastructure gaps in the Philippines and other ASEAN nations, especially those in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable mining, E-mobility, water and waste management, transport, and healthcare.