There is renewed interest in the Philippines among the Singaporean business community. A testament to this reinvigorated business relations is the recent Trade and Investment Promotion Mission to Singapore organized by the Philippines-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) which was held from 03-04 February 2015.
The Trade Mission brought together high-level government officials (two Secretary-level and one undersecretary) and some of the biggest names in Philippine business and industry to meet with potential investors and business partners from Singapore. The Makati Business Club and the Singapore Business Federation served as the Secretariat of the PSBC on the Philippine and Singapore side, respectively.
Established in 1994, the PSBC is co-chaired on the Philippine side by Mr. Guillermo D. Luchangco, chairman and CEO of the Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines (ICCP) Group, and on the Singaporean side by Mr. Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation.
The Philippine Government delegation consisted of high-level officials, to wit– Secretary Rogelio L. Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communication, and Undersecretary Cosette V. Canilao, Executive Director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center.
The Philippine business delegation was co-headed by Mr. Luchangco and Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Chair and Vice-Chair of the PSBC, respectively.
The Philippine business delegation was composed of some of the captains of Philippine business and industry, foremost of which is Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala of the Ayala Corporation. A complete list of the members of the business delegation and their business interests is hereto attached.
The business matching interests of the business mission were varied and included: 1) power and transport infrastructure; 2) banking and finance; 3) logistics supply; 4) renewable energy; 5) property and real estate development, malls, hotels and resorts; 6) green building design and technologies; 7) infrastructure and construction; 8) mining; 9) business development and joint ventures 10) social media marketing and digital marketing; and 11) IT consulting and software development.
The program for the first day, 03 February 2015, included a dialogue among the officers and members of the PSBC wherein they reviewed the bilateral trade relations between the PH and Singapore and discussed among others, the status of the relations as well as the Council’s program of activities for the year 2015.
The next day, 04 February 2015, the business forum dubbed “Philippines: An Economic Reawakening” was held at the Shangri-La Hotel. The Philippine Embassy in Singapore was represented by Ambassador Antonio A. Morales, Commercial Counsellor Glenn Penaranda and the Embassy’s Head of Economic Section Consul Edna May Grecia-Lazaro.
From the Singaporean side, no less than Minister Lim Hng Kiang of the Ministry of Trade and Industry delivered the Keynote Address for the business forum.
Sec. Singson and Sec. Abaya delivered presentations on investment opportunities in infrastructure and transportation, respectively, while Undersecretary Canilao presented the various Public Private Partnership projects on the pipeline that are open for competitive bidding to foreign companies.
The high level of representation on both sides is an indication of the strengthened economic relations between the two countries.
From the business side, Mr. Cirilo Noel of SGV & Co gave an overview of the business and investment climate in the Philippines. In his presentation, Mr. Noel highlighted the bright spots in the business sector, such as infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, retail, BPO/offshoring and banking.
The forum was co-organized by the Singapore Business Federation and the MBC with support from the Department of Trade and Industry and IE Singapore and with sponsorship from Keppel Corporation.
An important feature of the forum was the business matching and networking session held towards the end of the program where close to a hundred representatives from the business sector in Singapore participated.