Reinvigorating economic growth and ensuring its resilience will help an emerging country like the Philippines become more competitive, according to bilyonaryo Manny V. Pangilinan.
Pangilinan shared his to-do list to help to spur the country’s economic activity, create job opportunities, sustain investments, and improve productivity.
The top boss of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. underscored the need to build more infrastructure, revive the country’s agriculture sector, ensure power security, and invest in human capital for stronger, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Recognizing the private sector’s role in helping the government rebuild the economy on a new foundation for growth, Pangilinan said MPIC will scale up investments in agriculture to improve the country’s food production.
He said they plan to develop greenhouses to grow crops and vegetables and expand into other food areas.
“ President Marcos’s focus on the [agriculture] sector has resonated with us, and our people. It will be precisely this mindset — focus, boldness, and planning — that could turn this industry around…Agriculture is foremost in our mind. We are in sugar and dairy production already,” Pangilinan said.
Apart from this, he said the Philippines needs adequate and affordable energy.
“ If there are no new plants built soon, we can expect rotating brownouts in the country. We must also achieve a fair degree of energy independence, failing which import dependencies will subject us to the vagaries of geopolitics. And if we do not reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we can expect a grim future for our children,” Pangilinan said.
MPIC’s power utility firm Meralco, for its part, will build a substantial portfolio of power plants, particularly renewable, in line with the country’s goal to achieve an energy mix that is 35 percent renewable by 2030 and 60 percent by 2040.
“We are also applying with the government for an ambitious capex for advanced metering infrastructure which, with solar panels on rooftops, will help consumers better manage their electricity consumption,” he said.
For infrastructure, the group intends to build more roads here and abroad.
Telco giant PLDT aims to provide connectivity to anyone who needs it, wherever the location.
“We want to make the Marcos administration’s universal connectivity initiative a reality,” Pangilinan said.
“On the health side, our hospitals saw a lack of manpower — particularly nurses — which became one of the major bottlenecks to our Covid response. There were instances where available beds could not be filled because no one could man them. The President’s support for a Medical Reserve Corps Act, which will allow him to mobilize such a group during a public health emergency, is timely. And a development such as this will result in more healthcare professionals in the pipeline,” he noted.
Pangilinan said there’s much work to be done if the country wants to compete with its Asian neighbors.
“But the most dangerous takeaway would be to think that work should fall on the shoulders of government alone. If we want to level up with our neighbors like Indonesia, we must not simply match their dedication, but exceed it. That means all of us — including us from the private sector. When we are able to work together — like a basketball team — the passion, creativity, and inherent ingenuity of our people will carry us through,” he pointed out.