HAINAN, China—Declaring that the country’s destiny is in Asia, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, April 10, invited responsible businesses to invest in the Philippines and help the government realize its vision of a progressive nation for Filipinos.
In his remarks during the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) here, the President said the Philippines has dreamed of a comfortable life for its citizens, envisioning a society with opportunities for all and a nation of hard working, talented, and law-abiding people.
“We are slowly making the Filipino dream a reality. As we strive to push our economy forward, we encounter challenges. But we will not be deterred. We seek to partner with responsible businesses – home-grown and foreign based – to drive the progress we envision,” Duterte said.
The President noted that his administration has improved the peace and order situation and sustained the battle against corruption.
“We are strengthening the policy framework for businesses to thrive,” he added, as he vowed not to tolerate corruption in his administration.
President Duterte noted that his administration has ambitious goals, as he underscored plans to spend five to seven percent of the country’s GDP on infrastructure.
He likewise noted the target of reducing poverty from 22 percent in 2015 to 14 percent by 2022.
President Duterte said his administration’s flagship program, the “Build, Build, Build,” is expected to provide the solid backbone for growth and will upgrade infrastructure, connect more people and communities, and create more jobs.
So far, the government has already started a three-year rolling program amounting to over $69 billion until 2022, the President reported.
The President likewise said his administration is investing on innovation, particularly on science and technology and human development.
“With greater access to technology and financing, we will apply Science, Technology and Innovation in agriculture and the service industries. We will invest in improving research and development and intensify international cooperation in this area. We are willing to learn from others,” he said.
President Duterte also renewed the Philippines’ commitment to interconnectivity, both in functional terms and in political engagement.
“We will continue our efforts to broaden and deepen our economic engagement and cooperation with our friends and neighbors. We must harness the potential for shared growth in our region and beyond,” he said.
On the Philippines’ bilateral relations with China, President Duterte said both countries stand together against criminality and illegal drug trade. The two countries are also staunch allies in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
“Bilaterally, the Philippines is showing how complex relations are but not a bar to positive and mutually beneficial engagement,” Duterte said.
“With China, we stand together in the war on criminality and illegal drug trade. We are shoulder to shoulder in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Make no mistake: there can be no progress without stability in Asia’s lands and waters,” he said.
“As sovereign equals, the Philippines and China are partners in the building of much-needed infrastructure,” he stressed. “We are bridging bridges of greater understanding between our peoples. We are working together on strengthening economic complementarities.”
“Let me say it again today: the Philippines’ destiny is in Asia. The Philippines is ready to work with all nations in the region who seek friendship and cooperation,” he said. PND