Palace: ASEAN firms ain’t seen PHL’s best

Published by rudy Date posted on March 29, 2011

Share  Malacañang was in drum beating mode on Tuesday, in effect saying that Southeast Asian companies ain’t seen nothin’ when it comes to the best of the Philippines, after an ASEAN business survey showed the country was the second least attractive investment destination among firms in the region.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda trumpeted to reporters the potential of the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) initiative in reaction to the 2010 ASEAN-Business Advisory Council Survey on ASEAN Competitiveness, conducted by a professor of the National University of Singapore, and released this month.

“Wait for the PPP projects to be rolled out,” Lacierda said. “The business environment has changed drastically because we have promised a level playing field, and once the PPP projects have been rolled out, we are certain that the foreign investments would come in.”

The initiative refers to the collaboration of private investors with government agencies and institutions in building infrastructure – roads, hospitals, airports – with the private entities usually getting rights to run the finished for a given period.

Foreign investments coming in

Lacierda explained that foreign investments have in fact started coming in with the government expecting some 10 PPP projects, albeit with no specified dates so far. He added that a number of foreign investors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, United States and Europe already paid courtesy calls on President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in relation to the PPP projects.

The Palace spokesperson also relayed the administration’s optimism that the Philippines will fare better in the next ASEAN-Business Advisory Council Survey, adding that the government will strive to keep the country investor-friendly.

“Rules will not be changed in midstream – and that’s the greatest concern of business investors,” Lacierda said.

“The economic managers have been addressing the concerns of the business community in making sure that the rules that we have right now are rationalized and are consistent with one another.”

According to the survey, majority of the respondents are eyeing other ASEAN countries because of access to a “new or growing market.” The two other frequently cited reasons are opportunities to supply main or leading customers, and access to low-cost production facilities. – PE/VS, GMA News

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