Korean companies to invest $1.7-B in PH
SEOUL – At least two Korean companies confirmed commitments to invest in the Philippines, amounting to at least US$1.7 billion, following President Aquino's meetings with business leaders here.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is pushing through with its plan to build a new coal-fired power plant "that will produce at least 150 megawatts and to follow this up with a similar facility for a total additional capacity of 300 megawatts in Bataan."
"Other proposed power projects that are in the pipeline are as follows: Bislig, Surigao del Sur, 200 MW; Cadiz, Negros Occidental, 200 MW," Coloma said.
Estimated total cost of all three projects is pegged at US$700 million.
Top conglomerate Lotte also committed to build a 350-room hotel in Cebu "and to make other investments in confectionery, retail, real estate, and food manufacturing."
"Projects in pipeline are estimated to total US$ 1 billion over their projected completion in the next 5 years," Coloma said.
President Aquino urged Lotte to explore the possibility of investing in new tourist facilities in Palawan.
Hanjin and KEPCO offered to lease the facilities of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant for new coal-fired power plants.
Coloma said, "President Aquino directed Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to work out with the two companies alternative options on locating proposed new power plant facilities within the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant reservation. This is government's response to the two companies' offer to lease the BNPP facilities."
DEMOGRAPHIC SWEET SPOT
In meeting with Korean business executives, Aquino pointed out that the Philippines will enter a "demographic sweet spot" in 2015 when "the bulk" Filipinos reach working age and provide a pool of manpower for investors.
"In 2015, the Philippines will enter a demographic sweet spot, with the bulk of our people hitting working age-a professional, loyal, English-speaking work force that can surely contribute to the growth of investors. This situation, one that is conducive to business, will remain for the next 40 years," Aquino said in his speech before the Korean business community.
GDP per capita is expected to reach $6,000 by 2019, which is expected to boost the buying power of Filipinos.
"By 2019, we will enter another sweet spot: GDP per capita will hit around $6,000. This middle income sweet spot means a more empowered consumer base, as proven by other countries that hit an inflection point in the buying power of their citizens. Studies foresee that in the next fifteen years or so, four out of five Filipinos can hit middle class status if we continue on our current trajectory."