Invest in fast-growing Philippines, Aquino urges Singapore businesses

Philippine president Benigno Aquino meets the Philippine community as he arrives at Jollibee Singapore in Lucky Plaza on Nov 19, 2014. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has urged Singapore's top executives to invest in his country, saying the
Philippine president Benigno Aquino meets the Philippine community as he arrives at Jollibee Singapore in Lucky Plaza on Nov 19, 2014. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has urged Singapore's top executives to invest in his country, saying the Philippines was ripe for business amid reforms in governance and much-improved economic climate. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has urged Singapore's top executives to invest in his country, saying the Philippines was ripe for business amid reforms in governance and much-improved economic climate.

At a roundtable with business executives at the Shangri-La Hotel Wednesday morning, the second day of his working visit to Singapore, Aquino cited the improved performance of the Philippine economy, given the consistently positive international outlook for the country.

"I urge you to raise your stake even more. For those who are exploring the possibilities, I tell you: the time is now," said Aquino.

"A confident, energised, empowered people, who by the way are entering a demographic sweet spot by next year, are now poised to make the most of the opportunities that are coming their way," he added.

The President cited the Philippines' economic trajectory: growing at an average of 6.3 percent over the last three years, and the second-fastest growing Asian economy, tied with Malaysia in second place to China.

"Our government has gone back to its roots, where government exists to serve not just some of the people but all of the people. This is in turn has ignited a virtuous cycle," Aquino said.

"As growth becomes more inclusive, as witnessed by the reduction in poverty figures, the entry of new businesses and the creation of new jobs, we can indeed say: there is no better time to invest in my country, where the playing field has been leveled, growth is palpable, and opportunities are teeming," he added.

Aquino recalled the first time he visited Singapore in 2011, when he also addressed businessmen and outlined his administration's reform and economic plan, including increased public-private partnerships, the liberalisation of the aviation industry, and increased investment in social services.

"Today, almost four years after I first stood in Singapore as the leader of our people, I am proud to tell you that change has indeed swept the landscape of the Philippines. We are farther along the path to inclusive growth than we could have ever imagined back then," Aquino said.