Ayala CEO bullish on ASEAN integration

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 20 2014 10:58 AM | Updated as of May 20 2014 08:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Corp. chairman and chief executive Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is confident that the planned ASEAN integration next year will be good for business.

At the Financial Times-First Metro Investment Summit on Monday, Zobel said the growth momentum that the Philippine economy has seen in the past few years will continue to bring in more investors and deals with other ASEAN member countries.

“The more the Philippines becomes relevant in a global context—and the ASEAN does that—and the more regions will choose us as a partner of choice, I think the better for us,” he said.

“There is an exciting opportunity around the ASEAN area where we as a Philippine entity can add value,” he added, noting that its water utility arm Manila Water has inked deals with Myanmar and Vietnam.

Zobel said the firm will also look into developing real estate projects in these areas.

He added that the Philippines is at an advantage compared to its neighboring countries because it has the talent pool to fill job positions overseas.

“Sending people is a strength, it’s not a weakness. We are fulfilling a need in sectors like healthcare, shipping and IT,” he said.