**WASHINGTON, D.C.**—Attempting to attract American investors, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. told businessmen here that his administration aims to “transform” the country's economy, rather than return its pre-pandemic state. ![BBM Blair House.jpg](https://storage.googleapis.com/mb-mkt-neo-prod-1-uploads/BBM_Blair_House_61812348b7/BBM_Blair_House_61812348b7.jpg) ###### (Photo courtesy of PCO)
Speaking before American businessmen during the fireside chat at the Blair House, Marcos told US businesses that he wants the Philippines to be in the middle of the new economy." “I want to be somewhere else. I want to be in the middle of the new economy, number one. I think that is important,” the President said. He explained that he would rather use the word “transformation” than “recovery” to keep the economy in the Philippines growing after the Covid-19 pandemic. “I do not view it as they said how do we get out of this hole? The hole that the pandemic put us in? I said: Well I see it in a different way. I think because – that’s why I do not use 'recovery', the word recovery, I use the word transformation. Because we are not trying to recover to where we used to be. We are trying to transform ourselves to be part of the modern world,” he said. “Now, that transformation I think will occur, I think it is a grand opportunity that we have been given. Now we do not start from a blank sheet of paper but it’s close... And many, many new sectors that did not exist before. There are businesses that did not exist before that will be very dominant in the very near future,” he added. Marcos said he was optimistic that the Philippines could quickly transform itself, with the help of its young workforce. “Well, the optimism, number one, comes from our workforce. I have a 107 million population and 60 percent of that are working. And those – we have the youngest, we have the youngest I don’t know in the world but certainly in Asia,” he said. “We have the youngest workforce with an average age of between 23 and 24. And they are well-trained, they speak English. And very easily, we have shown ourselves to be perfectly capable of engaging in these activities around the world,” he added. The President said he remains optimistic, saying it was the “right approach especially now that we are beginning to see the effects of what we have been doing to structure the economy for stronger investment and for more well-structured value chains both in the service sector and in the manufacturing sector especially.” **Digital bureaucratic processes** In the same engagement, Marcos also highlighted the Philippines' efforts to digitalize its government processes, which is also aimed at attracting investors. “They have done a very good job. They have reduced some of the permitting procedures from —for different industries from several months to just a few days," Marcos said, referring to the work being done by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA). “I really am confident that the authority, if it’s continued — if it can continue its work and if it is — it is well supported by legislation, by the bureaucratic procedures, we can cut down many of those unnecessary regulatory documentary requirements," he added. The challenge, Marcos said, is how to compete with other countries and how to shorten the business permitting process, which sometimes takes months to secure in the Philippines, while In other countries, documents are ready for signature after 24 hours.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2023/5/4/to-attract-us-investors-marcos-tells-them-his-goal-to-transform-ph-economy)