The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s lead investments promotion agency, recorded a Php195.7 billion worth of investment approvals for the January to April 2018 period, an increase of 28 percent compared to the same period last year where it posted Php153.1 billion.

“The strong macroeconomic fundamentals and the continuous policy reforms sustained the increase of investments in the country,” Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez said.

“The additional projects registered in April maybe moderate but over the coming months we express confidence more investors will continue to come in and make up for the shortfall. We also expect that Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) will pick-up as its outlook is always long-term which will generate more jobs and business opportunities,” Secretary Lopez said.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo elaborated that the bulk of the investment projects for the month of April came from the six air transport projects of Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) with a combined investment amount of Php19.05 billion while the biggest single project approved was the Php5.2 billion project of MWM Terminals, Inc., a  public-private partnership (PPP) known as the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange in Coastal Road.

“These six projects by PAL alone indicate there is strong passenger traffic demand and once operational, it will re-energize the tourism industry especially when Boracay reopens before the end of the year,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said.

The renewable energy/power sector remained as the number one source of investments with Php104.3 billion in the first four months of 2018, up 401 percent from last year’s Php20.8 billion in the same period. This was followed by the transportation and storage sector which generated PHp37.5 billion, up by a remarkable 1566 percent from Php2.25 billion in the same period last year. Manufacturing investment projects meanwhile reached Php15.9 billion, a three percent uptick from last year’s Php15.4 billion in the same frame. The water supply, sewerage and waste management Sector (Php13.9 billion) and Real Estate Category (Php12.7 billion) on the otherhand rounded up the top five sectors.

Countryside investments continue to dominate the figures from January to April with an aggregate Php165.5 billion, or 84.6 percent of the total investment pie with the National Capital Region (NCR), accounting for the remaining 15.6 percent share.  Overall, Central Luzon (Region III) continues to be the frontrunner among all regions with Php77.4 billion in investments approvals, up 501 percent from last year’s Php12.9 billion during the four-month frame. Calabazon (Region IVA) is runner-up with Php52.8 billion. NCR is third with Davao Region (Region XI) and Western Visayas (Region VI) completing the top five with Php14.1 billion and Php3.5 billion, respectively.

DTI, CIAP conduct Regional Planning Conference in drafting of the Construction Industry Roadmap

The Break-out session was facilitated by DAP to gather inputs and valuable recommendations from the private sector, construction-related association and professional organizations, academe, local government units, and national government agencies’ regional offices.

The DTI and the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) recognize the critical role of the construction industry in the development of the country as this has contributed significantly to economic development, particularly in terms of the number of construction jobs. It also brings huge investments from foreign investors.


With the continuation of the development of the roadmap, CIAP, in collaboration with the Philippine Constructors’ Association, Inc. and other construction-related organizations, is currently conducting a four-part Regional Planning Conference in all parts of archipelago to consult with stakeholders on their suggestions, comments and recommendations in the drafting of the Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap.


The DTI and CIAP tapped the Development Academy of the Philippines to help develop a roadmap which will showcase essential development goals, policies, programs, strategies and targets until 2022 that will allow for the smooth and accelerated growth of the construction industry.


The first planning session for Luzon was held at Xenia Hotel, Clark City, Angeles, Pampanga on April 26, 2018.A total of 71 participants from regions CAR, I, II and III attended the said planning conference.


Second and third conferences were conducted in Cebu City – Visayas session and Davao del Sur – Mindanao session on 08 and 10 May 2018, respectively.


Participants were comprised of top officials from the private sector, construction-related association and professional organizations, academe, local government units, and national government agencies’ regional offices.


The first three break-out sessions were facilitated by DAP to gather inputs and valuable recommendations from the industry. The sectoral workshop on the Construction Industry Roadmap for 2018 – 2022 is divided into categories: Contracting Sector; Consulting Sector; Labor Sector; Material Sector; and Equipment Sector – all of which aimed at specialized development of the construction industry for each sector.


The last leg will be conducted in the National Capital Region (NCR) at the 7th floor, Teatro Arkitekto, UAP National Headquarters, Quezon City, and will take place on May 24, 2018.


To register for this event, contact Nerlie Jean P. Sakay and/or Laura G. Samson at telephone numbers (02)895.6826/895.4424 or email at and


CIAP is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry that promotes, accelerates and regulates the growth of construction industry in the country.

CIAP Executive Director Ramon L. Abiera (right center), Philippine Overseas/Domestic Construction Board Executive Director Doris Gacho (left center), Facilitators from DAP Director Samuel Rosal and DAP Senior Fellow Reuel Hermoso (far left), and representatives from the construction industry (Contracting, Consulting, Labor, Material; and Equipment) actively participated in the sectoral workshop on the development of the Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap.

Denmark interested in “Build Build Build” in PH

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez presenting the Sikap: Sipag at Abilidad book as a token for Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Brian Mikkelsen.

MAKATI—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez met with his Danish counterpart, Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Brian Mikkelsen, to discuss trade and investment opportunities between the Philippines (PH) and Denmark (DK), especially concerning the PH government’s massive infrastructure program.

“The current economic growth momentum, rating upgrades, and aggressive infrastructure programs offer a lot of business opportunities for foreign investors particularly with technology-oriented services and systems,” said Secretary Lopez.

The trade chief also stressed that “President Rodrigo Duterte guarantees that your investments will be protected from corruption,” as he shared reforms to improve the ease of doing business and about the corporate tax scheme in the country.

Minister Mikkelsen praised PH’s economic growth of 6.7% and said that they “want to be part of the development happening in PH.” He also expressed interest in bringing construction firms to participate in the PH’s “Build Build Build” infrastructure program. Apart from this, the European Union (EU) member state is also keen on investing in renewable energy and affordable medicine.

Secretary Lopez welcomed this interest and encouraged the Danish to offer insights to solve the developing country’s problems and said that “unsolicited proposals are welcome.”

Meanwhile, DTI is planning a Nordic culinary tour this year to promote Filipino cuisine to DK and its neighboring countries. DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said that they’re also planning a trade roadshow in DK in 2019 to promote Filipino trade and investments in general.

PH currently enjoys GSP+ privileges with the EU and hopes to elevate this to a free trade agreement (FTA) soon. Also, discussions on the ASEAN-EU FTA are underway, with the last meeting held in Singapore last April 2018.

Philippines and Russia follow through JCTEC and PV initiatives


Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo and Ministry of Economic Development Deputy Minister Alexey Gruzdev met in Manila on April 19, 2018 for the co-Chairs meeting of the Philippines-Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC). The JCTEC is a mechanism to improve bilateral economic relations between the Philippines and Russia. During the meeting, the following areas for collaboration were discussed: trade and investment promotion, industry development, labor, higher education, agriculture, energy, transport and atomic sphere and space exploration.

The co-chairs expressed that with the highest level of support from President Rodrigo Duterte and President Vladimir Putin, both sides are geared towards enhancing trade and investment relations. This is achieved through the following initiatives: trade promotion, accreditation of products for export, utilization on the the Eurasian Economic Union Generalized System of Preferences (EAEU GSP), proposal for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and updating of the 1992 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.

On trade promotion, the Philippines solicited the support of Russia for increased participation in their trade fairs and promotional activities. In this regard, the Philippines expressed its interest to participate in World Food Moscow on September and MEBEL Furniture Fair on November to showcase its food and furniture products to Russia.

To enhance trade, both sides agreed to exchange the final results of the mutual veterinary missions for the audit of Philippine seafood and seafood products and Russian meat products, once finalized. The audit was undertaken to ensure the safety of consumers against diseases and contamination from these export products. Updates on established business arrangements related to import and export of products, supply of engineering and design for steel structure, supply of automobile and trucks, and pipeline transport and construction that were initiated during the official visit to Russia of President Duterte last year were reported during the meeting.

The Philippines sought the assistance of Russia on fully utilizing the EAEU GSP. The EAEU GSP is a unified system of tariff preferences granted by the Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. Selected products covered by this scheme that are imported from developing country beneficiaries, such as the Philippines, are eligible for a 25% discount on customs duties.

To enhance market access, the Philippines proposed to engage in dialogue the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), which is the regulating body responsible for the integration of the EAEU, through a proposed Memorandum on Understanding to understand the market, operations, and regulation of the EAEU.

Both sides also agreed to commence discussions to update the 1992 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) as a means to attract and enhance investment relations.

The co-chairs meeting was preceded by a business round table attended by fifty-three local and Russian representatives from the following sectors: aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, infrastructure, food, mining, energy, oil and gas and consultancy.

Following the co-chairs meeting, the Russian delegation made a courtesy call to DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez. Deputy Minister Gruzdev shared the interest of the Russian side to further enhance trade and investment relations through the JCTEC. Secretary Lopez positively remarked that “coupled with the highest level of support from President Rodrigo Duterte and the thrust of the administration towards re-balancing our economic relations by pursuing non-traditional markets in the Asia Pacific region, the engagement of the Philippines with Russia will steadily increase.”

Undersecretary Rodolfo expressed his satisfaction on the outcomes of the meeting. He stated, “We hope to explore further the cooperation in other areas and take advantage of the complementarities between our economies in time for the 2nd JCTEC in Moscow in the second half of 2018.”

Russia is the Philippines’ 29th trading partner, 37th export market, and 24th import supplier in 2017.

Kapatid Mentor ME to reach out to more Micro & Small Enterprises in provinces—DTI

With the success of the Kapatid Mentor ME Program in 2017, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) looks to capitalize on its accomplishment and pick up where it left off as the program which is intended to assist micro and small enterprises in scaling up their businesses will continue for year 2018, aiming to reach more entrepreneurs in the countryside.

While reaching out to MSMEs, the Kapatid Mentor ME Program is also expected to contribute to the administration’s Trabaho, Negosyo Agenda—by producing more entrepreneurs, resulting to jobs for Filipinos.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Kapatid Mentor ME Program has sparked an entrepreneurial revolution in the countryside by empowering micro and small enterprises that will benefit the community through job creation.

“The Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) Program is driving the entrepreneurial revolution in the Philippines. More importantly, this revolution is happening in the countryside,” said Lopez.

“With the goal of helping entrepreneurs attain the mindset and business know-how, they need to sustain and scale-up their businesses. This program empowers MSME business owners—particularly in the provinces—and helps them create jobs that benefit the whole community.”

Philippine MSMEs account for 99.5% of the total number of establishments and employ 62.8% of the country’s workforce, contributing substantially to the country’s manufacturing output and total employment, making them critical engines of economic growth and development.

Kicking off in 2016, the Kapatid Mentor ME Program aims to assist MSMEs in scaling up and sustain their businesses through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship. The program is jointly undertaken by DTI and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo.

In 2017, DTI assisted 24,078 individuals, including 17,144 MSMEs and graduated 1,780 Micro Entrepreneurs throughout the country. The program also was able to certify 426 mentors, who will handle the modules and the mentoring aspects.

Sec. Lopez also highlighted the importance of the Department’s partnership with PCE-Go Negosyo and local government units (LGUs) throughout the country.

“To sustain this growth, continued collaboration between DTI, PCE, and local government units is essential. Our goal now is to develop competitive MSMEs and create a culture that recognizes their contribution to the economic growth of the country,” he said.

The 2018 Kapatid Mentor ME sessions kicked off last February 13, 2018 in Ifugao and will run in 16 regions throughout the country until September 2018.

The 11-week program will have weekly modules such as Marketing, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Operations Management, Business Law, Taxation, among others. On the 11th week, the mentee is required to present his/her business improvement plan, incorporating the learnings from the lectures and mentoring sessions.

To qualify as a mentee, the entrepreneur should be a business owner or manager of a micro/small enterprise operating for at least one year.

DTI sees bright prospects ahead for PH coffee industry

While the Philippines consumes as much coffee as countries such as the United States, Brazil, Japan, and the European Union, the country is also looking to be one of the top producers of top-grade coffee around the world.

To make this a reality, President Rodrigo Duterte last March 7, 2017 signed the Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2017-2022 to boost the country’s domestic coffee output in the next five years—a huge lift for coffee farmers, producers, and traders.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the trade department is working closely with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure that the Philippine Coffee industry would be at par with the world’s top producers such as Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, and Honduras.

“We have to have a patriotic drive to encourage demand for Philippine coffee. We are encouraging local producers to expand coffee production to create the demand,” said Sec. Lopez.

The Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2017-2022 will guarantee a coffee industry that is cost-competitive, aligned with global quality standards, reliable and environment-friendly, which will provide sustainable benefits to farmers, processors, traders, and exporters, and attain food security and poverty alleviation.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and is grown in 50 countries along the equatorial zone called “The Bean Belt,” which is located between latitudes 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south. Interestingly, the Philippines lies within the Bean Belt.

Due to this advantageous location and favorable, although tropical, climate, the country produces four varities of coffee including Robusta, Arabica, Excelsa, and Liberica.

According to Lopez, the current coffee output of the Philippines is pegged at 37,000 tons a year but with the Philippine Coffee Roadmap, the country is expected to raise the coffee production to 214,626 metric tons by 2022. This will bring the country’s coffee self-sufficiency level to 161% from the current 41.60%.

The Philippine Coffee Roadmap would also make available 213,788 hectares of area planted with coffee nationwide, translating to a huge yield of one ton of coffee beans per hectare—a huge discrepancy from the usual 0.33 ton per hectare. The task of implementing the roadmap falls on the Philippine Coffee Council.

Lopez is optimistic that the country will be able to achieve this feat especially with DTI assisting the coffee industry, which is one of the priority sectors of the agency.

“Through DTI’s 7Ms (Mindset change, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, and Models), we will continue to provide enabling mechanisms to empower coffee farmers and help in addressing the challenges in the industry,” Sec. Lopez added.

Data shows that Vietnam is the highest exporter of coffee green beans to the Philippines. Filipinos are also fifth among the highest consumers of coffee behind EU, US, Brazil, and Japan. Similarly, the Philippines is the top importer of soluble coffee and fourth total importer in the world.

As far as coffee production is concerned, the gap between coffee demand and production is widely noticed with demand for coffee is at 90% and imports amounting to P12 billion. The demand is still increasing with expanding consumption based among younger generation.

Currently, the top five regions in producing coffee are SOCCSKSARGEN (Region 12) with 25,100.77 metric tons, Davao with 11,429.78 metric tons, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with 10,341.59 metric tons, Northern Mindanao with 5,604.95 metric tons, and Western Visayas with 4,356.25 metric tons.

With the Philippine Coffee Roadmap as guide, the trade and agriculture departments together the private sector, and other coffee stakeholders held last March 20-21, 2018, the 3rd Philippine Coffee Conference in Baguio City and presented the coffee industry’s performance on the first year of the implementation of the roadmap.

The conference also discussed among other topics, the strategies to achieve the goals of the Philippine Coffee Roadmap, trends in coffee brewing methods, quality coffee farming of arabica and fine robusta, retailing a coffee business, financing for coffee business, and coffee business models.