Security Bank Economic Forum maps out manufacturing industry recovery plan

Security Bank held its 2021 Economic Forum on May 27, 2021 where key industry leaders discussed the future of the Philippine manufacturing industry. The event featured three industry experts who shared their insights and provided in-depth discussions on global trends and the latest economic and manufacturing forecasts.

The first speaker was Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, who discussed the government’s plans to enhance the Philippine manufacturing industry’s production capacity.

“The automotive, aerospace, information technology-business, process management, and the copper and nickel industries are the sectors with the most potential for foreign direct investment. These industries also have great potential to create high-value jobs for our countrymen,” Secretary Lopez said.

The government’s immediate plans for the manufacturing industry include turning the Philippines into an “AI center” and advocating to amend laws, such as the Public Services Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investment Act to boost investment in the Philippines.

Secretary Lopez also highlighted how the lower corporate income taxes and incentive packages under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act will boost businesses’ investments in their operations. “The future of the Philippine manufacturing industry is bright. Strengthening our businesses also means more economic growth, which will aid our recovery after this pandemic and the creation of more jobs for Filipinos,” Secretary Lopez concluded.

Gregory Banzon, EVP and COO of Century Pacific Group shared his outlook on the local manufacturing industry’s recovery based on the private sector’s point of view. In conjunction with this, he also shared how Century Pacific Group’s supply chain was affected by the pandemic and how it evolved.

“The pandemic has created a shift in terms of what consumers are willing to buy, or in terms of their priorities or what they need to buy. The top ten items consumers are spending on show that food is the highest priority in terms of shopping. They buy food for their home because there is no dining out and more families are eating in,” said Banzon. “Electronics is also on the rise because of work from home and online classes.

Century Pacific sees that recovery in the food manufacturing sector will remain modest with most spending being driven by value-spending of consumers. He also mentioned that increased mobility brought about by the availability of vaccines and the continued implementation of safety protocols will also allow small businesses to thrive and bounce back from the pandemic. Banzon also highlights job creation in their General Santos Tuna Plant as a response to the effect the pandemic has had on the labor force.

The event’s final speaker, Tomohiro Ando, executive director of Japan External Trade Organization’s Manila Team, provided his insights on the Philippine manufacturing industry’s comparative advantages, which include a young demographic and the workforce’s fluency in English. Ando also emphasized some challenges for the industry, such as the current elevated inflation rate and pandemic-related restrictions.

Despite having a comparatively weaker supply chain compared to its peers, Ando said the Philippines’ electric, electronics, and business machines-only supply chains have improved over the past decade due to the increase in the number of projects for the manufacturing of small parts for these industries.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Security Bank continues to provide its clients with resources and insights on the recovery trajectory of various Philippine industries. Through its annual Economic

Forum, Security Bank’s clients and business partners are equipped with much-needed information as they make crucial business and financial decisions in a volatile operating environment.

“As a Bank, we service a wide range of businesses across multiple industry sectors. The manufacturing industry is very much part of the lifeblood of many other industries. Its improved performance is key to economic recovery for the country,” says Security Bank President and CEO Sanjiv Vohra.

Veteran financial journalist Michelle Ong of the ABS-CBN News Channel served as moderator of the Economic Forum. The event was participated by over 400 attendees, including Security Bank’s clients and stakeholders.