President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, February 20, vowed to protect Indian businessmen against corruption, assuring that deals with the Philippine government would be “very simple.”
“Now, if you are here in business, my concern is… You have the capital, you have the will, you have the determination to make it good, to be billionaires, you have the money, but my concern is to make it very simple for you to deal with government,” the President said in his speech at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace.
President Duterte led the induction ceremony of the new board of directors of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Philippines Inc. (FICCI).
“You are in business. I just would want to tell you that as much as possible, we want you to be comfortable. There’s an ease of doing business and I am here, your President, whether you’re a national because I am the President here,” he added.
The Chief Executive said his main worry is to make businessmen comfortable, as he noted that they are susceptible to threats of extortion.
During his speech, President Duterte reiterated his resolve in eliminating corruption and cutting red tape.
“I am only giving my department secretaries one month and the directors two weeks. And if they do not comply with that, then we talk and we go separate ways,” he said, noting that it usually take the agencies one to two years to process documents.
In addition, Duterte promised to give the Indian businessmen access and time if they have a complaint against corruption.
“So I would want again to assure you that we are here to invite you, to protect you. And I said, just do the right thing, pay the right taxes and you are freed,” he said.
“As long as you pay the right taxes, just the exact price, no more no less, then you are freed of any interventions or trouble. That is the assurance that I will give you,” he added.
“Everybody will be protected and I will go after those persons in government who are still into corruption,” Duterte assured.
At the same time, Duterte also asked the Indian businessmen to not entertain corruption.
“The only way that you should not be doing is entertaining also corruption. At the end of the day, you will lose more money, more asking, but if you resist and demand only what is right and correct, and if you are still molested, disturbed, let me know and I will put an end to what ails this country — corruption,” he said.
Duterte also assured the Indian businessmen that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which are usually the subjects of complaints of extortion activities, are “already cleaned.”
Meanwhile, the President noted that India is interested to enter the Philippines’ telecommunications industry.
“And we are considering… I invited them during my talks with the businessmen of India during my official visit,” he said.
The FICCI started from a group of Indian businessmen drawn together in the spirit of brotherhood to establish ties with their homeland with the sincere desire to help integrate Filipino Indian businessmen with their Philippine counterparts.
Organized and registered in 1951, the organization is one of the oldest Indian Chambers outside of India.
It represents the major business interests of the Filipino-Indian business sector and is held in high esteem for its active involvement in the Philippine private sector. PND