PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday arrived from his three-day state visit to Canada and a working visit to Chicago in the United States that he described as a huge success, taking home with him a “surprise” deal that would earn the government billions over time.
In Canada, the President signed the Philippines-Canada Mutual Accountability Framework, which will pour in some 80 million Canadian dollars in investments in the country.
The President also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on occupational safety and health, and another MOU on human resource deployment and development in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
“The rationale of this agreement is simple, to safeguard the welfare and interests of our compatriots who are working or are interested in working in Canada.
“We are also looking forward to the start of exploratory discussions on the possibility of having a free trade agreement with Canada. Once this gets going, I’m sure our trade relations will flourish which will result in more jobs and opportunities for Filipinos,” he said in his arrival speech which he delivered in Filipino.
In Chicago, Aquino met with members of the US Chamber of Commerce, US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Business Council and National Center for APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) where many businessmen expressed readiness to expand trade in the Philippines.
He said private companies from both countries were interested in investing in Philippine business, tourism and agricultural sectors..
The President added that he had a meeting with the leader of a big business enterprise who promised to pump more dollars into the Philippine economy. Aquino did not name the businessmen but hinted that it is an existing firm in the country that is worth P1.3 billion.
“We have a saying: Save the best for last. In our last business meeting in Vancouver, we met the leader of a big business venture. We’ll not yet name the company so as not to jeopardize plans, but what’s important is we now have a $20 million or P1.3 billion in investment commitment from that company which plans to put up a waste-to-energy facility which is expected to be finished this year,” he said.
Once completed, the President claimed the government stands to earn P8.5 billion from the investment over 30 years.