Duterte to Singapore: Philippines is open for business

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2016 02:11 AM

Insisting that his war on illegal narcotics has made the country safer, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday encouraged Singapore business leaders to invest locally.

"Over the last few months, we've improved our peace and order situation. Filipinos today generally feel safer and the crime has remarkably dropped, especially in the urban areas," Duterte told potential investors in a speech at the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore.

He also highlighted the Philippines' growth in terms of the gross domestic product, which jumped by 7.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, the first three months of his administration, which data from the Philippine Statistics Authority attributed to gains in manufacturing, trade, and real estate.

According to analysts, this growth was also boosted by government spending, after the approval of the P3-trillion budget under former President Benigno Aquino.

Philippine economic growth in the third quarter was reportedly faster than China’s 6.7 percent, Vietnam’s 6.4 percent, Indonesia’s 5 percent and Malaysia’s 4.3 percent. 

Many developments and reforms in the country, Duterte said, are favorable for businesses, especially in key growth sectors such as energy and infrastructure.

"The Philippines is open for business and we welcome what you have to offer," he said, and added that more investments would put an end to protectionism in industries monopolized by a few companies. 

"More competition would only mean better services and affordability of quality products for all," he said. 

Singapore is the country's largest trading partner and the largest source of investments among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).