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There are positive signs of recovery early in our administration, PNoy tells Cebu businessmen

Tacloban City (September 15) -- President Benigno Aquino III assured the Cebu businessman and regional economic planners that there is a renewed interest among foreign businessmen to invest in the Philippines.

Speaking at the Regional Economic Managers Briefing and Dialogue with Cebu businessmen on September 15, 2010 at the Marriott Hotel in Cebu City, President Aquino said that there are positive signs of recovery early in his Administration.

"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," the President said.

This is consistent with the report of Trade Secretary Greg Domingo and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima who visited the United States in August to boost trade and economic relations between the United States and the Philippines.

President Aquino believes that the country can offer a better business environment for the investors. Last Monday, September 13, the Philippine Stock Market index hit 3,972.60, the highest in history.

Also, the Aquino 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 the Philippine government.

President Aquino disclosed that there are some investors who have shown interest to build an expressway from Manila through Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, until the end of Cagayan Valley. There is also a proposal to lease the Navy headquarters on Roxas Boulevard and the Naval Station in Fort Bonifacio.

If these projects push through, the government will save billions of pesos that can be used to fund needed programs and social services. The potential lease revenues to the government will add to the country?s resources, which can be spent on healthcare, education and other urgent needs.

President Aquino exhorted the Cebu businessmen to take advantage of the positive business and economic climate. Cebu has been chosen as a center for creative industries in the Philippines by the British Council, he said, and the Mactan International Airport will begin an expansion to accommodate more flights.

Because of all of these, the President foresees an increase in Cebu?s call centers, graphic arts, animation arts and other industries. He also foresees significant increases on a number of tourist arrivals which will in turn provide the climate for more successful entrepreneurs to thrive.

President Aquino said that the government is addressing the power situation and the others which need to be done to further enhance business condition in Cebu. He added that 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," the President said. (PIA 8) [top]

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