Philippine President Woos Foreign Investors, Vows Good Business Environment

Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the meeting at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool via REUTERS)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (PRRD) addressed executives and businesspeople in Beijing on Sunday, letting them know that his country will provide a safe and comfortable environment for interested investors.

According to The Philippine Star, Duterte noted that the government continues to implement reforms that will benefit foreign investors. "I want you guys, all businessmen, whether Japanese or Chinese - I want you to go to the Philippines, do business and I will create an environment which you will find comfortable," he said.

PRRD further pledged that investing parties could approach him directly if permits to do business in the country are unfairly delayed. He also called for cooperation to ensure that the Philippine market and foreign investors will benefit accordingly.

Duterte has been cracking down on corruption since he took office in 2016. During his meeting with businesspeople in China, he noted that ensuring corruption is not present will provide a business environment suitable for investors.

In line with his administration's bout against corruption, PRRD said the battle already cost him six Cabinet members. He said he would continue with the path he chose to take against corruption as it is key towards gaining the people's trust.

Meanwhile, the Malacanang Palace heaped praises on the Philippine president's China visit. Duterte was in China for the grand Belt and Road forum hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration.

According to the Manila Bulletin, the Malacanang referred to PRRD's China visit as "highly successful," citing multiple investments, grants, and business deals signed during the forum attended by 37 countries.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that 19 business deals were signed while the president was in Beijing. The agreements included sectors such as infrastructure, internet connection, energy, tourism facilities, and agriculture.

If the deals go as agreed on, the estimated investment could hit $12.165 billion and potentially over 21,000 jobs for the Filipino people. Furthermore, Panelo said that PRRD secured a 1-billion Renminbi grant from Xi for the Philippines as the two leaders agreed to enhance bilateral ties.

During the Belt and Road forum, Duterte called for the welfare and protection of migrant workers in other countries. He proposed assistance for workers on terms that ensure benefits for the parties involved.

Aside from bringing home business deals, grants, and improved ties with Beijing, PRRD raised the issue on an ongoing dispute on the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). According to the Philippine News Agency, Duterte expressed his eagerness to have peace on the disputed sea area.

Multiple outlets reported that both parties expressed their sides on the issue but also agreed to come to a resolution. Despite earlier tension on the disputed sea area, Duterte and Xi were said to have focused on strengthening trade between China and the Philippines. 

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