No offers from US for ‘Build’: DOF

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    While American investors have expressed interest in participating in the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build infrastructure modernization program on several occasions, “no serious offer has come” from them, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

    In a Philippine Economic Briefing roundtable held in Washington DC last October 17, Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, said he is looking forward to hosting American business delegations looking for investment opportunities in the Philippines’ rapidly growing economy.

    During the lunch meeting held at the residence of Philippine ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Dominguez mentioned that the auction for contract packages for the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Phase 2 of the North-South Commuter Railways has attracted five foreign firms from Indonesia, South Korea and Spain.

    The bids for PNR Phase 2, which will run from Malolos, Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga, were submitted on October 14.

    Unfortunately, there were no bidders from the US, Dominguez said.

    “The US business community expressed interest in participating in this program on several occasions,” he noted.

    “But no serious offer has come, and this is to bid in an international bidding program. I think I mentioned this last April,” he added.

    Dominguez said one area where US businesses might be interested serves as the centerpiece of the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build program – the New Clark City (NCC) in Central Luzon.

    The NCC is being developed as the country’s first smart, green metropolis, along with the transformation of the growth corridor between the Subic and Clark freeports, which used to be the sites of American military bases.

    This should be of interest to US businesses, noted Dominguez.

    “This area has attracted new industries and promises to be a center of modern enterprise in the region. I believe FedEx has just signed a contract to locate in Clark. The rapid transformation of the growth corridor between Subic Bay and Clark should be of particular interest to US businesses. This growth corridor is anchored on what used to be American bases,” he said.

    “Our alliance of long-standing should be strengthened even more by forward-looking business partnerships,” he added.

    After raising the Philippines’ infrastructure budget for the first time ever to over five percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, Dominguez said the government will further ramp up spending on this sector to seven percent of GDP by the end of the administration’s term.

    He said improved revenues as a result of the implementation of the first package of the comprehensive tax reform program are helping the government fund its infrastructure modernization and human capital development programs.

    Dominguez said he is confident that with improved revenue collections, alongside the strong support of the Philippines’ development partners such as Japan, China and Korea, “the infrastructure program will help our economy weather the headwinds created by the projected global slowdown.”