On 12 August 2021, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, together with Singapore Business Federation (SBF), co-organized a webinar on “Expanding Trade and Investment Opportunities in the Philippines” under the ASEAN edition of FYIstival, Singapore’s flagship digital space for virtual engagements.
The webinar, which was supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and business chambers in Singapore and the Philippines, was attended by almost 300 business representatives from the Philippines and Singapore.
The webinar was divided into three segments: 1) An update on the PH business environment, with special attention on the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act and other legislative reforms; 2) A presentation on the growth sectors and business opportunities for SG companies in PH; and 3) a panel discussion among SG and PH business leaders & DTI Assistant Secretary Nicanor Bautista on how to make the best of business opportunities in PH.
In his opening remarks, SBF Assistant CEO Mr. Darius Lim highlighted that the stellar economic growth of PH has not gone unnoticed, and there are plenty of attractive opportunities in the country for SG businesses. He also noted that the webinar came at a very opportune time, as the PH economy had just recently reported to have grown by 11.8% in the 2nd quarter of 2021. The observations of Mr. Lim were echoed by PH Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap in his keynote address. Ambassador Yap shared with the audience important macroeconomic indicators showing that the PH economy is already on the mend and assured them that PH remains a conducive place to do business even in the post-COVID era. He pointed out that the 11.8% GDP growth of PH in the 2nd quarter is the highest since 1988.
Among the highlights of the webinar was the presentation by Incoming Commercial Attaché Atty. Carla Regina P. Grepo who briefed the participants on the salient features of the game-changing CREATE Act which aims to improve the attractiveness of PH as an investment destination and provide private enterprises with more than P1 trillion worth of tax relief over the next 10 years, with the significant cut in corporate income tax rate. She also gave updates on the three other proposed economic reform bills that are of particular interest to foreign investors, specifically, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Public Service Act, and the Foreign Investments Act.
Ms. Anna Rellama, Director and Country Manager of YCP Solidiance (Philippines), an Asia-focused strategic advisory firm, shared with the group some important information on the sectors that exhibited growth in spite of COVID-19.
Several business leaders also discussed their experiences in expanding and scaling up their businesses in PH. Present during the webinar were Ayala Corporation Head of Business Development Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Vice President for Business Development Karim Manuel G. Garcia, Managing Director and Co-founder of MLION Corporation Eric Leong, Founder, and Director of OPSOLUTIONS Mervin Toh, and SCB Philippines Executive Director and Senior Trade Sales Joel de Vera.
This is the second event this year that the Philippine Embassy has jointly organized with SBF. The first event, which was the 2nd Philippines – Singapore Business and Investment Summit, held virtually in March, was also very well-received by over 300 participants from around the globe.