PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday (Brussels time) assured European business leaders of the Philippine government’s ongoing efforts to improve the country’s business climate.
“I would like to assure you that the Philippine government will continue to provide support for businesses and investments to continuously grow and prosper,” he said in a speech during the Philippines-European Union (EU) Business Roundtable in Brussels, Belgium.
He touted the Philippines as “an ideal regional hub” for sustainable and innovation-driven manufacturing and services, as well as for clean technology and renewable energy sources.
Marcos said the Philippines is endowed with rich natural resources to host Europe’s key sectors.
He cited the presence of Philippine companies in Europe, expressing hope to see more of these companies in the future as Europe continues to enhance its regulatory regime to remain open, transparent and business-friendly.
Marcos also reiterated the country’s commitment to maintaining its EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) beneficiary status, serving as a stepping-stone towards a PH-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Under the EU GSP+, the Philippines enjoys a free tariff for 6,274 products entering the EU market.
In return, the Philippines has to adhere to the 27 international conventions on human rights, labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance to continue enjoying the trade perks.
Marcos also told businessmen that the government is currently working on an Executive Order on the Creation of Green Lanes, which seeks to mandate concerned offices to establish a Green Lane to expedite and streamline processes, such as the issuance of permits and licenses, as well as the resolution of issues in strategic investments.
The measure requires government agencies and local government units to process, in the case of a simple transaction, a permit or license application in a period no longer than three working days, while in the case of highly technical transactions, 20 days from the date of receipt.
Meanwhile, Marcos took pride in the Filipino labor force as the country’s “great advantage”, citing several reasons that made them attractive to employers.
“The Filipino workforce is our greatest advantage. We have a sizeable population of 107 million Filipinos and our labor force presently stands at 50 million,” he said.
Citing government data, he said the Philippines annually produces 800,000 graduates across several disciplines with the majority of them in business administration, education, science and teacher training, engineering and technology, information technology-related disciplines, as well as medical and allied courses.
Marcos said the Philippine population’s median age is 25 years old and more than 60 percent of the labor force of 49 million are of working age.
“Apart from the young, the Philippine workforce is distinguished by high trainability… proficiency in English language, technological skill, cost-efficiency, cultural adaptability, and a low turn-over or attrition rate,” he added. Philippine News Agency