Posted on December 15, 2016
Entrepreneurs, co-workers in government, officers and members of the FFCCCII, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I know this season is for having fun and not for long speeches, so I will keep this short.
First of all let me thank you for inviting me to your Christmas party. Second, let me thank you also on behalf of the Philippine government for the strong and spirited support that you are giving the Duterte administration.
In return let me assure you of the President’s strong commitment to a safe community, the rule of law, better infrastructure, lower personal and corporate taxes, and lower cost of doing business, and a level playing field. I think under such an environment, your businesses will grow and prosper.
In less than six months, the recent achievements by the Duterte administration through the collaboration between the government and the private sector make this holiday truly a bright and festive occasion for all of us.
To start off, the new administration understands the importance of improved relations with China. The President’s state visit to China last October in which many of you joined promises many positive outcomes. It promises greater trade with China, which right now is already our country’s second biggest trading partner. It promises to double or triple agricultural exports to China. It promises more than one million Chinese tourists to the Philippines, and it promises fresh infrastructure financing for us.
Last night President Duterte and his economic managers met with the president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to flesh out major infrastructure projects. These are shovel-ready and ready for financing by the AIIB. For example, next month, just before the Chinese New Year, Secretary Dominguez, Secretary Pernia, and I will go to Beijing to negotiate specific projects with AIIB.
So the improved and improving relations with China and the Philippines will go a long way in turning President Duterte’s six-year 9-trillion peso infrastructure plan into reality. Let me repeat that: our plan is to spend something like 9 trillion pesos for public infrastructure from 2017 to 2022.
Again, thanks for your support for our desire to make the Philippines the fastest growing country in the fastest growing region in the world.
So finally let me wish each one of you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a bountiful New Year. Thank you.