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Marcos to Japan investors: Philippines accelerated infra program

TOKYO—President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday pushed before Japanese investors the Philippine government's “Build, Better, More” infrastructure program, which he said has already been fast-tracked.

During his roundtable meeting with top executives of Japanese electronics and semiconductors firms, Marcos described his predecessor’s infrastructure development in the Philippines as a “very robust and aggressive program.”

"But we have... accelerated it further and have made it a priority because we understand the importance of the infrastructure development, not only in terms of roads, imports but even in the soft infrastructure that we need to have in place," Marcos said.

The administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte embarked on an ambitious infrastructure program dubbed “Build, Build, Build,” of which 15 out of 119 flagship projects have been completed. 

The Marcos administration has already identified 206 big-ticket projects under its infrastructure program.

The number may decrease before the list is finalized by the end of the first quarter, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said earlier. 

Marcos told Japanese investors that the government would address the problems of logistics, which they have earlier raised.

"The logistics problems are also one of the areas that we will try to answer, specifically by having the infrastructure that can support the different activities —economic activities —that you are proposing for the future," Marcos said.

Marcos said there was a need to pursue an investment-led export growth strategy for the country's economic agenda.

"Just like Japan, we want to strengthen and empower our small and medium-sized enterprises so they can transform into true engines of growth. They are the heart of our communities," Marcos said.

"And most importantly, we intend to grow the position of the country as an industrial/service hub in the region through the establishment of anchor locators such as yourselves, who we hope will stimulate development to attract tier 1 to tier 3 suppliers," he added.

"This will help us create an efficient and expansive supply chain. We have listened to your concerns and your issues, and we intend to respond to these challenges with a whole-of-government approach," Marcos said. —NB, GMA Integrated News