Philippines on the rise

A message from the President of the Philippines Rodrigo R. Duterte

Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines  |  © Presidential Photo

As a reflection of investor confidence, the US News and World Report named the Philippines as the “Best Country to Invest In” in its 2018 Best Countries report, outranking Indonesia, Poland, Malaysia and Singapore.

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s upgraded our credit rating outlook from “stable” to “positive” in April 2018 due to improvements in policy- making while Fitch upgraded our Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating from BBB-, the minimum investment grade, to BBB in December 2017, which it affirmed in July 2018.

Philippines-Japan relations

Japan has been and will always be one of the Philippines’ most important strategic partners.

As of 2018, Japan was the Philippines’ second-biggest trading partner with total trade at $20.02 billion, our third-largest investor with total approved investments at 19.73 billion Philippine pesos and also our largest source of Official Development Assistance amounting to $6.27 billion.

Infrastructure development is key to our country’s economic growth and remains one of the priority sectors in Philippines-Japan relations.

Building facilities that will link our islands and improve trade and transportation will hasten progress, especially in our key growth sectors. This will expand local businesses, create more jobs, and contribute in efficiently delivering the benefits of our social reforms to the countryside.

Aside from Japan’s support for this administration’s infrastructure development initiative under the “Build, Build, Build” program, it has also reached out to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community in order to create a business environment that is conducive to the growth of the region.

Other key sectors for Japanese investment promotion in the Philippines include manufacturing of aerospace parts and automotive parts in support of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, shipbuilding, information and communications technology and business process management, electronic design services, public-private partnership projects, agribusiness and aquaculture, and small and midsized enterprises such as cluster and supply chain building projects.

I thank the Japanese government for the valued strategic partnership and Japanese industries for the confidence and crucial support in pursuing continued strong economic growth for the Philippines.

A message from Jose C. Laurel V, Philippine Ambassador to Japan

For many years now, Japan and the Philippines have enjoyed robust and stable relations. In fact, Japan has been a major economic partner of the Philippines and continues to be a valuable ally as the administration steers toward its goal of inclusive economic growth and improving the lives of Filipinos.

For 2018, the Philippines is one of the best-performing and fastest-growing economies in the world, and is projected to maintain, if not improve its performance because of the numerous economic reforms, a diligent monetary policy and strong leadership steering the country to new heights.

With President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” initiatives, many projects across the Philippines are already well underway — including the much-awaited Metro Manila Subway, the contract for which was awarded to a Japanese consortium.

As a matter of fact, the Philippines and Japan have formalized, as of the first quarter of 2019, $8.17 billion worth of infrastructure projects. All this, approved in a span of less than three years.

The government’s rigorous economic reform agenda is a continuous effort to further open the country’s economy, improve the ease of doing businesses here, and enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of various sectors and industries.

It also helps that our country is known for its kind, hardworking, and welcoming people. Our people are the key driving force behind the booming economy, this is why we are investing in them so in turn, they will invest in the future of their motherland.

In essence, these factors make the Philippines an attractive investment destination and with so many notable accomplishments already under our belt, we are confident that our country will be an economic bright spot in Asia.


The Philippines has been one of the most profitable investment destinations in the ASEAN region for Japanese investors over the last decade. Leaders share more insight on the strengthening relations between the Philippines and Japan.

Carlos G. Dominguez III
Secretary Department of Finance:

“The Philippines is experiencing a remarkable economic unfolding that can already be seen from the booming construction sector to the blossoming tourism industry. Many new investment opportunities are attracting the Japanese and other foreign investors. As the Philippines’ economic emergence continues to gain traction, over the years our bilateral relations with Japan will also grow more comprehensively towards becoming demographic partners.”

Yoshio Wada, Chief Representative
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippines:

“JICA is a trusted strategic partner of the in Philippines in nation building. Our efforts are focused on achieving economic growth through further promotion of investments, supporting the solutions toward health and human security issues, and on the peace and development of Mindanao. In line with the current administration’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ programs, we want to invest in very good infrastructure projects and improve connectivity among regions and islands.”

Hiroaki Uesugi, Director
The Japan Foundation, Manila:

“The Japan Foundation, Manila conducts The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test or JLPT twice a year to evaluate and certify Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers.  JLPT, together with Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese or JFT Basic, is one of the key requirements for the new status of residence of “Specified Skilled Worker” that Japan recently launched to accept more foreign human resources.”

The late Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto, Chair and Secretary
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA):

“Japan is an important partner as we pursue our development goals for Mindanao. We are looking at the entry of more Japanese investments and collaborations especially in infrastructure to help improve connectivity across Mindanao, realize its full potential, and spur holistic growth.”

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