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Marawi fighting an ‘isolated incident,’ Russia told

/ 05:30 AM May 26, 2017

Moscow — Philippine officials are trying to convince Russian businessmen that President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law covering Mindanao was an “isolated incident” and that the rest of the country remains a very good investment destination, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has said.

Lopez, who stayed behind in Moscow after President Duterte cut short his Russia trip following the outbreak of violence,  said the forum between more than 200 Philippine business delegation members and Russian businessmen would continue.

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Among the members of the Philippine business delegation are the MVP group of Manny Pangilinan and Michael Tan, President of the LT Group.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said the Philippine officials also hoped to convince tourists that the Philippines remained an excellent vacation spot despite the outbreak clashes between government forces and Islamic State-linked local militants.

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“We want to project that what happened was an isolated incident and that the Philippines has this growth momentum, that the incident won’t in any way counter the growth momentum we have,” Lopez said in a press briefing.

The Philippines remains a preferred investment destination because of its strong economic fundamentals, with an economic growth of 6.4 percent and investments rising 31 percent from January to April, he said.

It also enjoys market access privileges, which means that if businessmen make products in the Philippines, these could gain market access to specific countries.

“We want to assure our Russian business counterparts, the ministry, the business community from Russia, that the Philippines is still a very good investment destination. We want them to ride on the economic breakout that we’re having and that breakout is still happening now, backed up by the build-build-build infrastructure that will be mainly on economic structure that will bring down cost of doing business and improve the quality of life of Filipinos and investors,” he said.

The recently launched Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation between Russia and the Philippines has been discussing ways to work together on trade and investments, tourism, agricultural, marine, and other industries./rga

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TAGS: Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law, Philippine tourism, Ramon Lopez, Russia-Philippines relations, Wanda Teo
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