Czech will continue to do business with PH – new envoy

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Czech Ambassador to Manila Jaroslav Olsa Jr. (second from left) with The Manila Times editors (from left) Conrad Carino, publisher Rene Bas, editor- in-chief Nerilyn Tenorio, CEO and President Dante Ang 2nd, and Ben Kritz. PHOTO BY MELYN ACOSTA

Czech Ambassador to Manila Jaroslav Olsa Jr. (second from left) with The Manila Times editors (from left) Conrad Carino, publisher Rene Bas, editor- in-chief Nerilyn Tenorio, CEO and President Dante Ang 2nd, and Ben Kritz. PHOTO BY MELYN ACOSTA

The Czech government will continue to do business with the Philippines despite the controversy over the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) extension project, newly installed Czech Ambassador to Manila Jaroslav Olsa Jr. said on Thursday.

In a roundtable discussion with reporters and editors of The Manila Times, Olsa said one controversy will not deter Czech businessmen from pursuing investments in the Philippines.

“I think businessmen know very well what they are doing. I don’t think it [scandal]had a significant impact on Czech businesses looking at the Philippines,” he said.

Olsa was addressing a question whether the statement by Former Czech envoy to the Philippines Josef Rychtar that then-MRT head Al Vitangcol tried to extort $30 million from the Czech firm Inekon had dampened Czech interest in doing business in the Philippines.


Olsa said he was in Manila 19 years ago when the discussions on the purchase of MRT 3 cars began.

He said the Czech Republic had “visible success” in the MRT 3 project.
“Regardless [of the fact]that [cars]should be maintained more properly, they are still operating. That is a good thing in my point of view,” he said.

Even after the MRT 3 controversy, Home Credit Group, the largest consumer finance provider in Czech Republic, started operations in the Philippines.

Olsa said there has been a “steady rise” in trade between the two countries in the last five years. If the financial crisis of 2009 had not come along, the trade, which stands at $400 million, could have “tripled,” he added.

Philippine exports to the Czech Republic make up $300 million of the $400 million, the balance being Czech exports to the Philippines.

The “driving force” behind the trade is the manufacture of computer parts, Olsa said, noting that there is a Filipino factory in the Czech Republic that turns out computer components.

The Czech Republic is an industrial country, and Filipino investors might want to look at small propeller aircraft, ammunition, small arms for the police force, agri technology and medical equipment, Olsa added.

He highlighted the importance of the Philippines’ focus on increasing people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Olsa said the Philippines could promote itself as an attractive tourist destination for Czechs who are “keen travelers.” There are only 500 Filipinos living in the Czech Republic, and an average of 2,500 Filipinos who visited the country last year.

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2 Comments

  1. Roldan Guerrero on

    The Czech Republic is a unique country for economic reasons that one of its purpose of having Diplomatic ties with the Philippines aside from other important things, will advertise and push their products for marketing. This is initiated by their ambassadors such that having one will help will in the progress of their country. Same is done by Japan. The Department of Trade and Industry of Japan is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( Ministry of Foreign Relations, Trade and Industry) Japan, a very rich country, has only 13 Cabinet Ministries…..mostly are consolidated into one, other ex. is: Ministry of Health, Labor an Employment. The purpose is to minimize government expenditures such that there is no overlapping of functions and implementations of programs will be more effective, furthermore it will minimize corruption. The Philippines on the other side…struggling in its economy has more than 30 Cabinet members with Undersecretary and so many Asst. Secretaries and so many other superiors etc. which are all Presidential Appointees, so different from Japan that the lowest ranked department head is a career professional. These are some of the so many reasons what makes the Philippines a perennial impoverished country.

  2. No reason not to stay. The mischievous one and all his allies will be out of power in 2 years anyway. Hopefully the next leadership will be friendlier and more honest than this one.