Duterte pledges graft-free deals

August 31, 2019
Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President Duterte speaks during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing . AFP

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has assured Chinese businessmen their investments will be protected in a corruption-free environment as he urged them to invest in the Philippines.

“Let me thank our Chinese friends for the interest to be part of the Philippines’ growth story. We are encouraged by your vote of confidence in our economy,” Duterte said during the Philippines-China Business Forum at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Beijing, according to Malacañang.

He told  the attendees the Philippines has had one of the fastest growing economies in the region and the world, and the administration has embarked on the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program to sustain the positive trajectory.

“We have grown for the past 82 consecutive quarters and recorded above 6% annual growth rate since 2012,” Duterte said.

The Build, Build, Build program welcomes more Philippine-China cooperation, he said.

Malacañang said the country has a Construction Industry Roadmap for 2022 until 2030 designed to increase the value of the construction industry.

Philippine construction delegates had its first mission to China to benchmark on digital building technologies and ways to deliver quality construction efficiently and effectively, the Palace added.

It also said Philippine construction industry players are looking forward to partnering with their Chinese counterparts in having new and sustainable construction technologies and solutions.

Duterte said Chinese businessmen can enjoy benefits also enjoyed by the US and European Union.

“In return, they can offer you the benefits of our preferential trading arrangements with various economies, especially the US and European Union,” Duterte said, adding it will be a “win-win situation.”

“We therefore have a win-win situation here. And I invite you all to take advantage of it fully,” he told the Chinese business community.

Among the projects the country welcomed is an integrated steel mill to be built based on an agreement between HBIS Group Asia and Steel Asia. The country aspires to build an integrated iron and steel industry that is globally competitive, the Palace said.

The said project will enhance the Philippines’ capacity to produce by 2030 high-quality and reliable steel products, Duterte said.

Duterte also said there are opportunities in the manufacturing, agriculture and services sectors.

“The Philippines and China agreed to develop industrial parks where Chinese investors and manufacturers can set up factories,” the Palace said.

Duterte said construction for the first industrial park is scheduled to start in the first half of 2020.

“I am pleased to note that the construction...and all others...investors...to utilize this platform and harness our growing domestic market of more than 100 million people,” he said.

Duterte also said Chinese businessmen will be well-positioned to invest in the country with the Philippines’ young and skilled workforce.