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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs  16 October 2010

Aquino tells business to be proactive

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday urged the business sector to work with the government in enhancing the business climate in the country.

In his speech during the 36th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel, President Aquino ticked off his achievements in his first 100 days in office and encouraged businessmen to "become more proactive in investment promotion efforts."

The president praised the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for launching the Business Matrix Program, which aims to develop the countryside by promoting livelihood and opening up more opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises.

"With a computerized networking system that bridges the gap between producers and sellers with their potential buyers and financial resources, you have shown once again your commitment to empower our people through partnership of the private sector with the community," he said.

"The achievement of our social goals is dependent upon our capacity to put in place an environment where private enterprises thrive. And the government you have now, in just over a hundred days, is doing exactly that. We are all aware of the enormous problems we inherited, but we continue to work to improve the overall business climate," Mr. Aquino said, apparently taking a dig at the immediate past Arroyo administration.

"Our fiscal measures have borne fruit. We have controlled our budget deficit. From P34.6 billion in June 2010, it went down to P32.7 billion in July and even had a surplus of P1.3 billion in August.

Our stock market remains strong as the Philippine Stock Exchange Index [PSEi] rallied to new heights, making it one of the best performing stock markets in Asia," the President added.

Mr. Aquino also noted the Philippines' first-ever peso-denominated global bonds sale, which raised US$1 billion, or P44.1 billion.

He cited a recent move of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to remove the country from its list of tax havens.

The President mentioned his week-long working visit to the United States last month, durng which he was able to secure $2.4 billion in new investments.

He said that during the visit, he met with US business firms from various industries, such as Coca-Cola, Pfizer, AES, Hewlett-Packard, JP Morgan Chase, Sutherland Global Services Inc., General Electric, Headstrong Corp. and Affinity Express.

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