On Tuesday May 2, 2023, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. together with Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual and other Cabinet officials and members of the Philippine delegation attended a series of one-on-one business meetings at the Blair House during the President’s Official Visit in the United States.
During these meetings, Secretary Fred Pascual echoed the Philippines’ readiness to do business with the United States. He also discussed the priority sectors of the Philippines targeting US investments such as IT-BPM, healthcare, semiconductors, electric vehicles and electric batteries, renewable energy, and food and minerals processing. Pascual further, emphasized the enabling environment in the Philippines which help foreign investments thrive.
During the meeting with Moderna, a known pharmaceutical and biotech company that plans to establish a global Shared Service Facility (SSF) for Pharmacovigilance in the Philippines, Secretary Pascual said, “The Philippines’ Health Information Management Services (HIMS), a sub-sector of IT-BPM is growing, with over 17,000 FTEs as of February 2023. Part of the advantages of the Philippines in the HIMS sector is the country’s young, tech-savvy, and English-speaking population.”
The Moderna SSF is intended to serve the entire Asia-Pacific Region and will be the only SSF of Moderna in Asia and the third in the world. It will also initially employ 50 staff at the start of its operations. Maxeon Solar Technologies, a global leader in solar innovation, on the other hand, plans to bring its latest technology, Max7 to the Philippines. “With this project, the most advanced solar cells in the world will be manufactured in the Philippines”, Pascual noted.
The President and the Philippine delegation also met with other American companies such as Nuscale and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, that are at the forefront of small and micro modular reactor technologies; Zero Motorcycles, a high-end electric motorcycles manufacturer; Atento, a leading company involved in customer relationship service and business process outsourcing; Analog Devices, a major semiconductor company; and Optum (UHG), Inc., the biggest healthcare provider in the US.
Atento has decided to set up its first call center at the Iloilo Business Park, which will employ about 1,000 workers during its first year. Atento will offer both voice and non-voice services to US clients and their initial investment is valued at PHP21.4 million. Meanwhile, Optum will invest PHP800 million to set up a health information management services (HIMS) operations in Davao, which will generate 1,500 jobs. In addition, Analog Devices will set up a research and development center and hire an additional 1,000 engineers for semiconductors.
The two big ticket investments are those of Analog Devices and Maxeon, which will be registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) under the leadership of Director General Tereso “Theo” Panga. These new investments by Analog and Maxeon will bring in more than USD1 billion when fully implemented.
“We are very happy with the decisions of Analog and Maxeon in choosing the Philippines for their new projects. Moreso, the efforts of our DTI Secretary Pascual paved the path to success in all the investments done last 2022 up to present. All our investors are very enthusiastic about their business expansions, citing mainly the Filipino workforce and the ease of doing business given the conducive business environment in the ecozones, particularly for the export-oriented industries, as the core reasons for their decisions to invest here,” DG Panga said.
Asked about the outcome of the business meetings with the President and the American companies, Pascual said, “We are happy with the outcome as six of the companies have firm plans in the Philippines. The companies will put in billions of dollars’ worth of investments and will generate thousands of jobs for the Filipino people.”