Aquino’s 2-nation journey nets $2B in new investments

By: Daxim L. Lucas, June 9th, 2012 03:11 AM

President Benigno Aquino III. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE

WASHINGTON—President Benigno Aquino III’s weeklong trip to the United Kingdom and the United States has secured for the Philippines at least $2 billion worth of fresh investments from foreign businessmen eager to participate in the country’s growth story.

In a briefing on Thursday evening (Friday morning, Philippine time), a Palace official said Mr. Aquino secured the commitment of power generation firm GN Power Ltd. for a $1-billion investment in two coal-fired power plants in Bataan province.

“The plants should be operational by 2015,” Presidential Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang told reporters, explaining that it takes three years to complete a power plant, on the average.

Mr. Aquino also secured the commitment of US-based research and development firm Underwriters Laboratories to put up a global research center in Metro Manila.

Carandang said the investment for this project was small in dollar terms but would hopefully result in “some kind of knowledge transfer to local workers.”

On top of this, another $1.03 billion worth of investments was sealed in the United Kingdom, he said.

Mr. Aquino will meet with officials of Citigroup on Friday morning (late Friday night, Manila time) and additional initiatives may come out of the discussions, including support from the US financial giant for the government to develop a mobile phone-based payment system, according to sources familiar with the issue.

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