Duterte assures businessmen: ‘We will kill’ investment problems in Philippines
TOKYO — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday promised before businessmen here that he would “kill” corruption in government and create a “competitive and corruption-free business climate” in the Philippines.
“I just assure you that during my time I said there will be no corruption,” Duterte said in his speech before Filipino and Japanese businessmen at the Imperial Hotel.
“And every Japanese investor in my country however small, however big, I can assure you that if there’s any complaint regarding hindrances, obstruction or outright corruption, let me know,” he added.
The President said he would be available 24 hours to address problems that businessmen might encounter when transacting with government.
“I will give you at any hour of the day or night you can contact any of the Cabinet members or your Filipino lawyers or Filipino workers, and you can ask an audience with me in 24 hours and I will talk to you and just let me know what your problem is and we will kill that problem,” he said.
“We guarantee a competitive and corruption-free business climate, and a highly-skilled and fast-learning workforce,” he added.
Duterte is currently on a four-day working visit here, and would be keynote speaker at Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia.
Earlier Wednesday, a total of 26 business agreements and letters of intent worth P288.894 billion were signed here between Filipino and Japanese businessmen.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agreements are seen to generate 82,737 jobs in the Philippines.
Duterte thanked the Japanese businessmen for their “strong intention to invest and expand business operations in the new sectors of Philippine economy.”
“It is a vote of confidence in the Philippines’ bright economic prospects,” he said, adding that “Japan has been a major source of foreign direct investments and a key trading partner of the Philippines.”
He said the Philippines was expecting an “increased trade and investment flows” from Japan “because of the strong momentum generated by decades of deep economic cooperation.”
Japan, according to Duterte, “is the first and only country with which the Philippines has a bilateral Foreign Trade Agreement: the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement or what is known as PJEPA signed in .”
“We are currently reviewing this agreement and we hope to upgrade it to a higher level of preferential arrangement that is mutually beneficial to our countries,” he said.
The President also invited Japanese investors to participate “in our game-changing ‘Build-Build-Build’ infrastructure program which we aim to build inclusive and innovative industries and transform our economic archipelago into one of an integrated economic space.”
“Let me emphasize that we are firmly committed to maintain a stable and predictable environment for robust business partnerships between the Philippines and Japan,” he said.
“More than Build-Build-Build, let us work together to Grow-Grow-Grow our economies.” he added. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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