The Future of Philippines and Swiss Cooperation in 3 Investment Sectors

Key Takeaways from the June 16 Forum

Posted on June 30, 2021

The Philippine-Swiss Business Council (PSBC), together with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Board of Investments, and the Swiss Embassy, in collaboration with the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce and Swiss Global Enterprise, on June 16, launched the virtual forum, “Philippines and Switzerland: Investing Together for a Better Future.”

The forum was attended by delegates from both the Philippine and Swiss government and private stakeholders, along with Philippine, Swiss, and Liechtenstein Companies.

It was a reassuring moment for both countries on their commitment to propel trade, investments, and the economy. Key areas on Cleantech and Renewable Energy, Infrastructure, and Digital Health were focused on, discussing current policies and programs, sector improvements, and the way forward. To further boost the engagement of Swiss companies in the Philippines, it is encouraged to utilize and maximize the PH-EFTA FTA.

KEY INVESTMENT SECTORS

Simultaneous discussion on the identified key investment sectors of cleantech and renewable energy, infrastructure, life sciences, and digital health care was held.

Important points culled from the three breakout sessions were captured and delivered by PSBC Chair, Christine Fajardo, at the close of the event. Below are the important takeaways:

Cleantech and renewable energy

The Clean Technology and Renewable Energy sector is particularly relevant to the Philippines as it seeks to increase its share of renewable energy to more than half of its energy sources by 2040. The Philippines can also consider the best practices exemplified by Swiss companies.

  Ms. Mylene C. Capongcol, Director, DOE Renewable Energy Management Bureau

  • The Renewable Energy Act of 2008 aims to accelerate the exploration and development of RE resources; achieve energy self-reliance for the country; and promote clean energy to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • There are many investment opportunities in the Renewable Energy sector, from upstream development and generation, transmission, distribution, retail and supply.

Mr. @Marc Krebs, Co-founder, Tide Ocean SA

  • #Tide, in cooperation with the Swiss University of Applied Sciences, has developed a mechanical process that transforms 100% ocean-bound plastic into a premium, award-winning raw material. 
  • The multi-awarded Swiss company collects plastic in the oceans, inflows, coastlines, and uncontrolled landfills.

Mr. Romil Jagunap, DKSH Philippines

  • We need a broad coalition of groups that can bring in complementary skills in order to achieve general progress.
Participation in Philippine Infrastructure Projects

The Philippine government is augmenting its investment in Infrastructure Projects through the active partnership of the private sector and financing institutions. There are various ways for Swiss companies to engage in the Infrastructure sector.

Mr. Patrick Renz, Board Member, Asian Development Bank

  • With the primordial aim of promoting social and economic development in its developing members, the Asian Development Bank established in 1966 with headquarters in Manila, provides loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments.
  • Since 1967, Switzerland has been an ADB donor and shareholder, while the Philippines has been one of ADB’s top recipients and a key partner in financing.

Mr. Kelly Bird, ADB Country Director, Philippines Country Office

  • For the years 2019-2023, the estimated value of ADB support to the Philippines is up to US$15 billion of projects.
  • Among the projects are (1) Angat Dam Water Transmission Project, (2), Malolos-Clark Railway Project, (3) EDSA Greenways Project, (4) Metro Manila Bridges Project, (5) MRT Line 4 – Ortigas to Rizal, (6) Bataan-Cavite Bridge Project, (7) South Commuter Railway Project, (8) Laguna Lakeshore Road Transport, (9) Emergency Assistance for Reconstruction and Recovery of Marawi [Output 2], (10) Improving Growth Corridor in Mindanao Road Sector Project, and (11) Davao Public Transport Modernization Project.

Mr. Timothy John R. Batan, Undersecretary, DOTr

  • The direct economic cost of traffic is estimated at approximately 7%.
  • The Philippine government has adopted mixed funding sources with 48% Japan, 27% ADB, 18% China, and 6% PPP.
  • A total of USD 7 Billion has been allocated for all rail projects in the country.
  • Aside from financial capacity, it is important to build trust and confidence in the market.
  • Swiss companies are encouraged to discover various mechanisms to participate, such as partnering with a lead funding agency, subcontracting, and provisioning supply and equipment.
Investing in Life Sciences and Digital Healthcare Transformation

The Digital Healthcare landscape is an evolving sphere with a promising future. The governing policies also support the sector, opening more business opportunities for investors.

Professor Dr. Dennis Ostwald, CEO at WifOR Institute

  • There is a paradigm shift in healthcare; from a cost factor, it is now a driver for growth and employment.
  • Considering the pandemic, health expenditures are essential in stabilizing the economy and planning future defense strategies.
  • It is essential to consider measuring the Health Economy as it has many uses and benefits in the long term. Measuring it becomes a starting point for new, objective dialogue between politicians, associations, and companies. Health Economy Reporting (HER) is an evidence-based monitoring tool that can support the decision-making of economic and health policymakers as it presents a Macroeconomic Impact Assessment of future health policy decisions. HER also provides a comparison of the health economy vis-a-vis other vital sectors of the economy. 

Ms. Sonja Haut, Head Strategic Measurement and Materiality, Novartis

  •  The Novartis is committed to the Philippines’ socioeconomic development reflected in its Social, Environmental and Economic or SEE impact valuation. SEE is their approach in measuring the social and environmental impact of their business activities in society, in addition to economic value.

Mr. Jeff Williams, Health Information Management Association of the Philippines

  • With the Philippines’ large pool of medical professionals, including US-licensed nurses, it has become one of the biggest and fastest-growing offshore locations for healthcare payer outsourcing. It also has growing capabilities in high-value services such as clinical research, analytics, and life sciences.

Ms. Diana Cortesi, International Markets, Basel Area Business & Innovation 

  • The Basel area is a growing ideal business location with its over 700 life science companies, and 5 universities, ranked among the Top 25 in Human Biological Sciences in continental Europe.

Dr. Raymond Sarmiento, National Telehealth Center

  • The passage of the Universal Healthcare Act opens an opportunity for investment through Section 36, which mandates all health service providers and insurers to maintain a health information system consisting of enterprise resource planning, human resource information, electronic health records, and an electronic prescription log consistent with DOH standards, which shall be electronically uploaded regularly through interoperable systems.

FINAL NOTE

The PSBC would like to thank the active participation of the attendees who took the time to impart their knowledge, and expertise on the various topics. We value your excellent insights and calls to jointly intervene for the Philippines’ better future. 

Christine Fajardo

About the Author

Christine Fajardo is the current Chair of the Philippine Swiss Business Council and the Corporate Affairs Head of Novartis Philippines. A strong believer of a collective and co-created effort, she supports empathic solutions to transform health outcomes while igniting synergy for social and economic impact.
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