MANILA — A group of companies from the United States on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to boost their cooperation and investments in the Philippines, particularly in health, digital infrastructure, and energy programs.
Members of the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the Malacañang Palace, where they discussed business opportunities in the Philippines' healthcare system.
“So one of the main things that we are doing – in fact, we are groundbreaking a big multi-specialty hospital just outside Manila soon and we are going to open more of them as annexes hospitals,” Marcos said.
The President also noted that the country has been suffering from brain drain of healthcare professionals, adding that world leaders have asked the Philippines' help to send more Filipino nurses and medical practitioners abroad.
But he said the Department of Health (DOH) already has plans to address this.
"We are trying to find schemes so as to alleviate that problem. One of the things our Department of Health has come up with is that we are coming to an arrangement with countries who will accept Filipino healthcare workers to at the same time train the equivalent number of healthcare workers that will stay in the Philippines,” Marcos said.
“We are trying to accelerate the board examinations of nurses so we can actually put out more. So that’s the adjustment that we are trying to make. So it’s not only in the facilities, it’s also in the training. We are very proud of them but we wish they’d stay home," he added.
Meanwhile, the President also assured the US business executives that his government is working on issues that have been brought up by foreign investors, including the price, reliability, and supply of energy as well as the ease of doing business.
He also underscored some of the government's steps on digitalizing the country's economy, including bringing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) "into the system of digital marketing."
Marcos also noted the need to retrain and reskill Filipino workers to easily adapt to new technologies.
“Actually, the workforce is quite full when it comes to tech. But again, we need to catch up in terms of training, in terms of getting involved in the new technologies that we are seeing for many, many reasons: for the digitalization, for the climate change, for the cybersecurity,” he added.
The 10-member BENS group will be in the Philippines until Thursday to engage with Philippine leaders to discuss potential areas for investment and cooperation in the country.