AT least $185.7 million worth of trade and investment pledges were made during the trip of President Rodrigo Duterte to a regional summit in Singapore, Malacañang said on Saturday.
Duterte, who was in Singapore for the just-concluded 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders’ summit, witnessed the signing of investment agreements with Singaporean companies in the fields of urban development, renewable energy, aviation, manufacturing and economic and trade cooperation.
The new Singaporean trade and investment pledges to the Philippines are expected to generate about 1,920 jobs for Filipinos, the Palace said.
In his speech, Duterte assured the Singaporean businessmen that there would be no corruption in his administration.
“For as long as I am there, there will be no corruption in my government,” the President said during the signing of the business agreements.
“Do not give in to them. All you have to do is to make a call, I said, and I will grant you [a meeting]anytime especially about graft, about workers in government asking for money,” he added.
The President said he would task the departments of trade and finance to come up with measures that would make the process of doing business in the country “simpler and easier.”
Businesses in the Philippines, he said, would be protected as long as investors paid the right taxes and followed the law.
“You just take care of the laws. There is a set of laws to follow. If it’s followed, then we are okay and we can talk about business,” Duterte said.
“I welcome you. I assure you the protection that you need. No corruption is no corruption. I stake my presidency on this. I will lose the presidency on this. I will lose the honor and the prestige in pursuing that policy of no corruption,” he added.
Duterte even said he was willing to intervene in case of problems with the local government units.
“My powers are limited. But I can change the rules down there if I really want to, especially if [the problem]involves wrongdoing,” he said.
The President said the main goal of his administration was not to “bleed business” but to encourage businesses to flourish in the Philippines to provide work for the people.
One of the agreements will see the rise of 25 Jollibee outlets in Singapore in the next five years, following the deal between Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd. and Golden Beeworks Pte. Ltd.
Other investments pertain to the development of projects in Filinvest City (Filinvest Development Corp. and Keppel Corp.); marine renewable energy projects in Zamboanga (Everthydro and Ocean Panel); and a site to implement the “SGConect legacy project” (SIA Engineering Co. Ltd. and Cebu Air Inc.).
Another agreement signed involved prefab projects between Filinvest and Hitachi Asia Ltd; Robin Village International Pte. Ltd. and ICS ICT Support Services Corp.
Filinvest Development Corp. also signed a deal with Hitachi Asia Ltd., which aims to provide the framework for the exploration of collaborative opportunities in social innovation, energy management, information and communication technology, water solutions, security and financial technology and urban development.
Ascent Solutions Pte. Ltd. agreed to invest in Ascent Solutions Philippines Inc., in cash, equipment and technology, for the development of a blockchain technology platform for a national ID system, transport management system and trade financing.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a deal with Singapore Manufacturing Federation to promote, strengthen and expand trade, economic, scientific, technological cooperation and other business relations between concerned organizations and firms of both parties.
Lepack Packaging Pte. Ltd. signed a letter of intent to explore opportunities in the Philippines on plastic packaging and film manufacturing.
The Department of Trade and Industry and Asean Business Advisory Council also signed a letter of intent to work jointly on a feasibility study to identify a site that would be suitable to implement the SGConnect legacy project.