'I will protect you': Duterte courts Indian businessmen

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2018 04:58 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2018 11:27 AM

President Duterte listens to the discussion during the plenary session of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Commemorative Summit at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel in New Delhi, India on January 25, 2018. Karl Alonzo Norman, Malacañang Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged Indian companies to invest or expand in the Philippines, promising to "protect" them, as he touted efforts to make doing business in the country easier.

"I will protect you. I will make the guarantees. Just don’t give in to corruption," Duterte told a business conference in New Delhi. "We invite, we protect."

But the President, upon his return to the Philippines from his visit to India before dawn Saturday, said he discouraged investors from putting up businesses in Western Mindanao due to "security threats."

"Indian businessmen want to come here, but I was the first to say maybe just avoid [the] Western portion of Mindanao, especially down to Zamboanga. Visayas, Luzon and some parts of Mindanao, Davao, Butuan (are okay) unless there will be something coming up in the days to come," he said.

Duterte and his delegation secured some $1.25 billion in investment pledges in information technology and energy during his two-day official visit to the South Asian nation that ended on Friday.

The potential investments can generate at least 10,000 jobs, said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Renewable energy firm Adani Green Energy Ltd committed to invest $1.1 billion, which could create more than 3,000 jobs, Lopez said.

Duterte and other heads of state from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are in New Delhi for the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and India’s Republic Day celebrations.

-- with a report from Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News.