Washington, DC—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez pursued investors that will build hyperscale data centers, with the corresponding renewable energy generation projects that should provide for their power requirements. This was discussed mainly during a meeting with executives from ENDECGROUP Inc. and Black and Veatch (B&V) on 18 April 2022.
The trade chief cited the Duterte administration’s major economic reforms and investment promotion activities on high-tech-oriented projects. “Among our priority sectors include those that promote Regional Equity, Digital Infrastructure and Skills Development, and Climate Adaptation, which can potentially be categorized under Tier III of the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP). Building more data centers supports our strategy to build the country’s digital infrastructure needed for the hyperscalers in this age of growing e-commerce and internet and social media use,” Secretary Lopez said.
“The setting-up of renewable energy projects would also benefit from the recent policy move to allow greater foreign equity participation in renewable energy projects. DTI-BOI team has also been pushing for more green metals processing activities or the further processing of nickel, copper and cobalt as new efficient minerals for batteries and battery energy storage for clean energy systems,” the Trade Secretary added.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has also been pursuing digital transformation as a means to sustain the recovery and enhance the resiliency of the country in 2022 and into the next administration. During the same meeting, NEDA Undersecretary Rose Edillon highlighted digital transformation as one of the priorities of the Task Group on Recovery and one of the focuses of the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP).
During the meeting, the trade chief likewise mentioned the Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) initiative, which will ensure capacity building and availability of skills in digital technology, and the Center for AI Research, which will encourage more innovation in these new industries.
“These, we see, will further grow the Philippine economy by nurturing higher-value economic activities, bringing in more investments, jobs, and income—which would further fuel consumption spending, as well as attract more investments and expansion activities,” Secretary Lopez added.
For his part, B&V Executive Director Mr. Martin Travers took note of the Philippine policies on electric vehicles (EVs), renewable energy, and data centers which align with the priorities and strategic direction of the US firm. B&V is among the top 10 employee-owned companies in the US, with experience in deploying a network of EV charging stations. It is also among the top data center developers in the world and a leader in climate-friendly data centers.
Meanwhile, ENDECGROUP Chairman and CEO Mr. Bill Johnson highlighted the country’s strategic location in the Asia Pacific region, existing infrastructure in telecommunications and submarine cables, strong business process outsourcing (BPO) hub, and ability to develop renewable energy to power data infrastructure as some of the reasons for considering the Philippines as an ideal location for their investments.
“With the sound economic policies and reforms already set in place, we are confident and optimistic that the next leaders in government will be able to build upon the successes and continue the gains of the Duterte administration,” Secretary Lopez said.
Last 4 April, ENDEC together with its US partner, Diode Ventures LCC, met with Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head and Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo to discuss further its serious and substantial business plans in the Philippines. In the same meeting, ENDEC CEO Mr. William Johnson recognized BOI’s efficiency in assisting the group in moving forward with their business plans in the Philippines.
DTI, ENDEC, and B&V are committed to working together in accelerating this project.