MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III said he brought home $2.5 billion-worth of investments from his recent foreign trips.
In his speech upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday, June 10, Aquino said that this amount is the product of his campaign to attract investments to the country in his visits to the United Kingdom and the United States from June 4 to 10.
Aquino reported in his speech that he has yielded about $1.03 billion in UK from the following:
- Firming up a commitment from the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (Pasar), majority owned by commodities trading giant Glencore, to invest US$500-600 million “to expand smelting capacity and build a power plant to support its operations”
- Signing of a memorandum of understanding between Rolls-Royce and budget carrier Cebu Pacific for the $280-million dollar acquisition of new Trent 700 engines for long-haul planes
- Signing of a memorandum of understanding between local energy firm SN Aboitiz Power and Gaz Asia Ltd for new plants that will convert organic waste materials into liquid bio methane that can be used for vehicle fuel
In the US, on the other hand, Aquino has met with executives of Sithe Global, Denham Capital, GN Power, and Underwriters Laboratories, whose combined committed investment reaches around $1.4 billion.
“These figures translate to employment for Filipinos. Along with this, it also resulted to a deeper relationship with UK and US,” Aquino said.
The president was accompanied by 26 top Filipino businessmen in meeting with investors and top government officials in both US and UK. The expenses incurred by the president in these trips amounted to P87.1 million.
“The president makes sure that whatever expenses are incurred will be returned by way of investments—the investments that we get whenever the President goes out of the country,” presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.
Aquino also reported that during his US trip, he was informed that the Philippines has become a beneficiary of the debt-for-nature swap. The country does not have to pay its $23 million-worth of debts to the US government, and instead the Aquino government could just channel it to tree planting activities in the country.
The Philippines also received an additional $30 million under its Partnership for Growth program with the US for poverty alleviation.
Aquino added that President Barack Obama himself “stressed the importance of the Philippines as an ally” with a shared interest to maintain freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Aquino that they will help construct a Coast Watch system and deploy additional Peace Corps volunteers in the country.
“These will come a long way in protecting our shores,” Aquino said. – Rappler.com