Aquino: Investors' interest in PH up tenfold
MANILA, Philippines – Expect more investments in the Philippines.
Upon his arrival from another foreign trip, where he keynoted a business forum, President Benigno Aquino III hailed heightened investors' interest in the Philippines which he said was evident during his visit to Singapore.
On Wednesday evening, November 20, Aquino said businessmen flooded a Philippine investment briefing as interest in the country continues to increase.
“(Department of Trade and Industry) Secretary Greg Domingo told me, this is not the first time businessmen flooded an event featuring the Philippines. In other investment briefings held by the DTI, like [in] Europe and Taiwan, companies have really expressed their intense interest in us,” he said in his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
He added, “When we started, it was already a good thing when 30 businessmen joined our investment briefings; now, often, the number of those who visit is times 10 and we won’t be surprised if this number continues to grow.”
Aquino added about 300 businessmen attended the event hosted by The Economist, where he was the keynote speaker.
Aquino also said he joined a business roundtable with heads of companies part of the Singapore Business Federation and other chambers of commerce of Europe, Britain, the United States, Japan, and India. Members of the Europe-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Business Alliance, International Enterprise Singapore, and the Philippines-Singapore Business Council attended as well.
The President said two large companies have already committed to entering the country.
“One of those big business group was Keppel Offshore and Marine Ltd, which is our partner in strengthening the shipbuilding industry. They were not just content with the success of the industry, they also plan to invest in us. A proof of this is their plan to bring their first-ever oil rig to the country," he said.
Aquino also mentioned the expansion of the Singapore Airlines Engineering Company (SIAEC), which entered the Philippines in 2005, expanded in 2009 with an additional investment of $25 million, and is now completing its third hangar in the country worth about $21 million. He said the company plans to build two more next year.
The President said increased investment “would not just increase jobs,” it is also proof that the Filipino is truly “world-class.”
SIAEC for instance, employs 500 Filipino employees and senior managers in Singapore, which he said encourages them to “further invest in the talents and skills of the Filipino.”
“Running facilities like these require technical expertise for huge airplanes,” he added.
Other companies Aquino talked to include Temasek and the Government Investment Corporation (GIC), the two largest investment fund groups in Singapore. Aquino said Temasek has already ventured into different industries in the Philippines, while GIC is interested in infrastructure, real estate, and telecommunications.
During his Singapore visit, Aquino also made a stop at Philippine fastfood Jollibee in Lucky Plaza which he said “proves Filipinos can compete with foreign companies.”
“We heard just one complaint a while ago: Jollibee is so lucrative in Singapore, and one of the Singaporean partners invested only little in it,” Aquino said. “That’s why this partner is pushing for Jollibee in Malaysia, where he will ensure he will invest more because he said it’s a very good business.”
Aquino said the successes from his trip proves the Philippines is no longer the so-called "Sick Man of Asia" and is ready for ASEAN economic integration in 2015.
“Because we are chasing a long-term transformation, certainly future generations will enjoy the fruits of the seeds we planted for change,” he said. – Rappler.com