Duterte to entice investors in build, build, build program
PHNOM PENH—President Duterte arrived here on Wednesday to attend a World Economic Forum event as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and as part of the Philippines’ efforts to catch up with the booming economies of its neighbors.
Mr. Duterte said he would be “articulating the interest of the 630 million Asean citizens” at the World Economic Forum on Asean, which will be attended by more than 700 business and government leaders from around the world.
He was to host a briefing for foreign investors on his administration’s Build, Build, Build program.
Government officials leading the program, which aims to usher in the “golden age of infrastructure” for the Philippines, said it would need around $160 billion in funding.
“It will be the first launch internationally of the Build, Build, Build program, otherwise known as Dutertenomics and announcing it to investors, as well as to the international media,” said Manuel Teehankee, foreign undersecretary for international economic relations.
Teehankee said the thrust for more infrastructure projects was a way for the Philippines to match its neighbors’ economic gains.
“The Philippines is indeed wanting to play catch-up [by] improving [its] infrastructure,” he said.
Two business groups
Teehankee said Mr. Duterte and other heads of state would meet with two groups of businessmen.
The first one is a group of 25 businessmen, with whom the heads of state will discuss youth, technology and economic development, he said.
The second group is composed of regional investors, whom the Asean leaders will consult on the improvement of strategies for good government and economic growth, he said.
Among the leaders expected to attend the meetings are regional executives from GE, Siemens, Cisco and Standard Chartered Bank.
As this year’s chair of Asean, Mr. Duterte will report on the achievements of the 30th Asean summit held in Manila last month.
Joining Mr. Duterte are Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuân Phúc, Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who will open the forum.
Asean, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has been pushing for an integrated economic community similar to the European Union. Its success or failure is one of the topics of discussions during the forum.
Officials who will represent the Philippines in the forum are Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Neda Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Ambassador Christopher Montero, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go and newly appointed Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
This is the first time for Cambodia to play host to the World Economic Forum on Asean.
Cambodia, which has close trade relations with China, is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.
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