Aquino woos French businessmen, says PH now enjoying ‘renaissance’
PARIS—President Aquino on Thursday urged French businessmen to put their money in the Philippines, saying the country was now enjoying a “renaissance” after being “kept in the darkness of apathy.”
“There is a French word that perfectly encapsulates the state of the Philippine economy: renaissance,” the President said in a speech at the Philippine Business Opportunities Forum at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand.
“Indeed, our country’s momentum is stronger than it has ever been in recent memory, and we will not sit idly by; we will build on this momentum. And I am here today to invite all of you to be part of our story—to take a closer look at our country, to study your prospects here, and ultimately, take part in the Philippine renaissance that continues to win the admiration of the world,” he added.
Saying the Philippines was “kept in the darkness of apathy and hopelessness by an administration motivated only by self-service, as opposed to public service,” Aquino, who took office in 2010, said he had since “refocused the priorities of government, rekindling the true spirit of governance, and showing the Filipino people what it is like to have a government that works for them.”
As in most of his engagements during his European trip, the President outlined government efforts to curb corruption and produce a better business climate that provides a level playing field.
He also highlighted government investments in social services, particularly the conditional cash transfer program, scholarships in technical-vocational education, and an increased health care coverage.
“Our good governance efforts have breathed new life into our economy,” he said, citing the country’s 7.2-percent economic growth last year and the various credit rating upgrades it had received.
Addressing French businessmen, Aquino said: “There is a natural synergy between our requirements and aspirations, and your strengths and capabilities.”
“Yours is a mature, developing country, while ours has just been recently gaining momentum toward development,” he said. “Together, let us maximize the opportunities before us, for the mutual benefit of our peoples.”
On Wednesday, Aquino sat down with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, following separate meetings with three major investors here.
Teleperformance, a pioneering call center in the Philippines, was looking at the country as a “strategic location” for its markets in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Daniel Julien, board chairman and founder, informed Aquino that his company was planning to increase its workforce from 26,000 to 50,000.
In another meeting, the President was offered “newly designed aircraft for disaster management” by Airbus officials Pierre Jaffre and Pierre Lanore. He was also told that the company “continues to participate actively in the procurement of aircraft” as part of the Philippine military’s modernization program.
Schneider Electric, which employs 2,600 people in the Philippines, offered “several innovative suggestions that could result in substantial gains in energy conservation as well as in energy cost savings.” It also proposed “energy solutions to various major power plant projects all over the Philippines.”
Originally posted at 5:02 pm | Thursday, September 18, 2014
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