Saying the Philippines is now open for business, President Benigno Aquino III wooed New Zealand businesses to invest in the country.
In a speech before the Philippine-New Zealand Business Forum, Aquino highlighted the “great strides” achieved by his administration over the past two years in battling corruption, cleaning house, reforming the system of budgeting, tightening the rules of procurement and levelling the playing field.
“These are exciting times in the Philippines, and now is the time to invest,” he said.
“What we are bringing to the table today—that we believe administrations in the recent past have not been able to offer—is a business climate characterized by fairness and integrity: where rules are clear-cut, where all are given the opportunity to profit, and where your success is determined by your strengths, adaptability, and ability to innovate," he added.
He told New Zealand businessmen that they can win contracts in the Philippines "based on your ability to deliver projects—not on backroom deals and political favors.”
He said both countries can do more to enhance trade relations. “I invite you to explore other products we can offer such as electronics, home furnishings and garments.”
Aquino said one of the areas of mutual interest to both countries is geothermal energy, in which the Philippines still has some 2000 megawatts of untapped resources.
Another area of interest is the thriving business process outsourcing industry “which has as its backbone the capable, easily-trained and customer-oriented Filipino people.
“It is because of them that the Philippines is currently the world leader in voice BPO services, posting $7.38 billion in revenue for 2011,” he said.
He said the country is also diversifying and moving up the value chain: offering more complex services such as healthcare information management outsourcing, backroom engineering design, and animation and game development.
“The relations between our two countries can only grow stronger if our peoples gain a better understanding of our cultures, our history, and the unique experiences we can offer,” he said.
He said the existing Working Holiday Scheme between the Philippines and New Zealand “can do much to further our people-to-people relations and our shared agenda of tourism—that New Zealanders can spend up to a year in the Philippines, and vice versa, means great things for our countries and our people.
“This way, New Zealanders will be able to experience Filipino culture and hospitality firsthand—and gather and share stories on the ways in which it is more fun in the Philippines. - VVP/VS, GMA News