AmCham wishes gov’t success in anti-drugs campaign

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) is crafting plans supportive of the Duterte administration's 10-point socioeconomic agenda, and wants this government to succeed in its drive against crime, drugs and corruption so the Philippines could become an even "better, safer destination for investments from all countries." This was the statement of AmCham's top executive Ebb Hinchliffe to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. Reporting on the outcome of what he described as a "very positive and productive" weekend dialogue with Dominguez, Hinchliffe informed AmCham members that those who attended the November 5 meeting on behalf of this group had informed Dominguez that they were working on plans in support of the 10-point socioeconomic agenda through AmCham's various committees and their "Arangkada" advocacy. Hinchliffe said this week in a memorandum to its members that AmCham had also reiterated to Dominguez during their 90-minute dialogue that "we want this Administration to be successful in ridding the country of crime, corruption and drugs." "If this is accomplished we believe the Philippines could be a better, safer destination for investment from all countries," said Hinchliffe in his Nov. 7 memo, which was furnished Dominguez. "We assured the administration that AmCham was 100% supportive of the 10-point social-economic agenda and we are crafting plans that will support their implementation," Hinchliffe said. "We will do this through our committees and our Arangkada advocacy." Hinchliffe said in his memo that the Saturday meeting, which was held in Dominguez's office, was "very positive and productve. The meeting was originally scheduled to last one hour but due to the positive two way communication, it actually lasted one and a half hours." He said that AmCham had brought to the dialogue with Domimguez a multisectoral group that included members with businesses in agriculture, manufacturing, energy, financial services, business processing outsourcing (BPO), mining and tobacco. Hinchcliffe disclosed that Dominguez had clarified during the dialogue that what the new government has been pursuing is "economic diversification, which, Hinchcliffe said, "implies the Philippines will be working to open more markets overseas and create higher paying jobs in the domestic market from all countries." Those who had attended the dialogue found the secretary to be "honest, frank and sincere not only to maintain the current positive relationship between AmCham companies in the Philippines but to improve the business environment for continued growth," he said in the memo. Hinchliffe said AmCham will "continue to arrange high level meetings with senior government officials." For one, AmCham is due to meet with trade and industry secretary Ramon Lopez after President Duterte's trip to Malaysia. During that Saturday dialogue, Dominguez assured AmCham members the Duterte administration will continue to make the Philippines an attractive place for investments by encouraging a competitive environment to level the playing field for business. Dominguez said that "as far as business is concerned," President Duterte "wants to have more competition and more innovation." The new government is pursuing a policy of "economic diversification" to open more markets for Philippine products overseas, encourage more investments in the country, and create better-paying jobs for Filipinos. Dominguez thanked AmCham for supporting the government's 10-point socioeconomic agenda, and asked the Chamber to help craft an action plan that would implement the reform plan's goal on job creation. "Can we focus on creating more employment? How do we translate that into an action plan? How do we create jobs and make sure they are good jobs and that people can rely on them, because jobs provide dignity to people," said Dominguez in recognizing AmCham's role in generating hundreds of thousands of domestic jobs in various industries. The government "will make certain that the business environment is such that it encourages people to stay on. We encourage competition and we encourage obedience to the law," he added during the dialogue. A day before Dominguez's meeting with AmCham executives, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Washington that the historic alliance between the US and the Philippines remains "ironclad' despite recent differences. "The United States continues to place high value on the close ties that exist between our countries," Kerry said during a swearing-in ceremony for the new US ambassador to Manila, Sung Kim. "We continue to recognize our ironclad commitment to the sovereignty, independence and security of the Philippines."

Source: Philippine Information Agency