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Official records of the World Bank show that the remittance flows to developing countries reached US$316 billion in 2009, down to 6 percent from the $336 billion in 2008. With improved prospects for the global economy, remittance flows to developing countries are expected to increase by 6.2 percent in 2010 and 7.1 percent in 2011, a faster pace of recovery in 2010 than our earlier forecasts. The resilience of remittances during the financial crisis has highlighted their importance in countries facing external financing gaps. Remittances are now being factored into sovereign ratings in middle-income countries and debt sustainability analysis in low-income countries. Countries are also becoming increasingly aware of the income and wealth of overseas diaspora as potential sources of capital. Some countries are showing interest in financial instruments such as diaspora bonds and securitization of future remittance to raise international capital.

World Bank reports also show that the Philippines ranked fourth in the Top 20 recipients of migrant remittances. Remittances sent through banks during the first half of 2010 increased by 6.9 percent compared to 2009 figures, amounting to US$9.1 billion, based on the records of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. In June 2010 alone, US$1.6 billion in remittances were sent by overseas Filipinos where the main sources include the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Italy. The combined flows from these countries represented 81.7 percent of the total remittances reported by the banks. The continued deployment of professional and skilled overseas Filipinos due to favorable global employment opportunities helped to keep remittances strong.

With increasing inflows of money and with growing awareness on the potential of remittance for daily and long-term sustenance, there is huge advocacy from both government and non-government sectors to transcend from a consumption-investment motive for remittance to sustainable investment-entrepreneurship purposes. Several NGOs in the Philippines such as Atikha and Unlad Kabayan have established programs that provide capital and financial support to returning migrants wishing to invest; train migrants and their families on financial literacy, planning and management; and encourage family savings, cooperative development and social entrepreneurship. President Benigno S. Aquino emphasized in his inaugural speech the need to increase jobs in the Philippines so that Filipinos need not go overseas to find employment. The President said, “Gagawin nating kaaya-aya sa negosyante ang ating bansa. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance, to business.”  

It is in this light that the Commission on Filipinos Overseas is publishing the third edition of the Invest in the Philippines, a compendium that has initially put together information to help assess prospects for investing and doing business, particularly in small to medium scale enterprises. It provides leads about agencies or offices where more specific data could be obtained. The compendium also gives examples, where available, of specific industries or enterprises with attractive potentials for the information of prospective investors. Just as importantly, the compendium provides information about the requirements for doing business, from the standpoint of a number of relevant government agencies, including local government units.
At the time of the first publication in 2004, right after the passage of the Philippine Citizenship and Reacquisition Act of 2003, the compendium was seen as an initial step to provide accurate information about investing and doing business in the Philippines, particularly to those reacquiring their Filipino citizenship. Since then, the CFO has been continuously exploring and pursuing other actions with financial institutions that would lead to the underwriting of an investment trust, tailored for individual overseas Filipino investors who are more inclined to opt for portfolio type investments. The Philippine government has also been providing better and wider windows of opportunity for many overseas Filipinos to become involved in economic activities in the Philippines.  

In the 3rd edition of the compendium, new business opportunities in coconut industry, health and wellness, jewelry, garment, electronics and franchise are included. It also contains an updated list on the Department of Trade and Industry’s One-Town-One-Product program, tourism opportunities, agri-business, government-guaranteed bonds, amount of wages and salaries, as well as business and other forms of security and insurance. The result of the latest survey on city competitiveness in 2007 is also included.

This investment compendium neither presumes to know all about the profitability or returns on an investment, nor identifies or favors specific enterprises to invest in. The compendium is meant to serve as a source of general information in knowing where investment and business potentials exist, leaving the prospective investors to further examine prospects, before deciding where their capital should go into.


Manila, Philippines, September 2010