Regional Economic Managers Briefing and Dialogue with Cebu Businessmen

President of the Philippines
At the Regional Economic Managers Briefing and Dialogue with Cebu Businessmen
[September 15, 2010, Marriott Hotel, Cebu City]

Good afternoon.
It is an honor to be here in Cebu in the presence of distinguished business leaders. It is my first time here as President and I am here to personally inform you that there is renewed interest among foreign businessmen to invest in the Philippines.
Our victory in the last election would not have been possible without your support. Thankfully, this euphoria has resonated and is evident in the business sector. Some of the business leaders who were turned off by the corruption and uncertainty in our economy and politics over the last decade have expressed a desire to invest again in the Philippines. This is consistent with the report that we have received from Secretary of Trade Greg Domingo and Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima who visited the United States last month to boost trade and economic relations between the US and the Philippines. The prognosis is good, that we can offer a better business environment for the investors.
There are positive signs of recovery early in our administration. On our journey towards the straight and righteous path, we are already experiencing real signs of progress. Last Monday, the Philippine Stock Market index hit 3,972.60, the highest in history.
Also, our administration recently sold 44.109 billion pesos worth of 10-year Philippine Peso Global Bonds. This marks the first-ever local currency-denominated offshore issuance by the Republic and is also the first deal of its kind out of Asia. The recent Global Bond offering raised 1 billion US dollars for the Philippines, with the issue being 13 times oversubscribed. The bonds offered a reasonable yield of 5% and because it is denominated in pesos, there is no foreign exchange risk for us.
Portfolio investments usually precede direct investments. There are some who have already shown interest and want to build an expressway from Manila that will pass through Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, until the end of Cagayan Valley. If this project pushes through, our government will save billions of pesos that can be used to fund needed programs and social services. There is also a proposal to lease the Navy headquarters on Roxas Boulevard and the Naval Station in Fort Bonifacio. The potential lease revenues to the government will add to our resources, which can be spent on healthcare, education and other urgent needs.
With your creativity, dynamism, initiatives and confidence, you here in Cebu and the whole of Region VII are well poised to take advantage of this business and economic climate.
Cebu has been chosen as a center for creative industries in the Philippines by the British Council. The Mactan International Airport will begin an expansion to accommodate more flights. Because of all of these, I foresee an increase in Cebu’s call centers, graphic arts, animation arts and other industries. I also foresee significant increases on a number of tourist arrivals which will in turn provide the climate for more successful entrepreneurs to thrive.
More work needs to be done to help you along. We are addressing the power situation, and Secretary of Energy Rene Almendras can walk you through the details. The government is seriously considering liberalizing air transport to make it easier for people to come to Cebu and to other parts of the country. This is the essence of the public-private partnership that I was talking about in my state of the nation address; that working together, government and business can achieve mutual goals that benefit the entire nation.
As our administration strives to further enhance business conditions here in Cebu, I know that you will continue to thrive. As your businesses grow, they will employ more people and pay more taxes. You can count on us to do our part.
Maayong adlaw ug daghang kaayong salamat sa inyong tanan!

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