Team Unity sees more jobs, benefits from investments in Philippines

May. 09, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — Team Unity senatorial candidates are confident the Philippine economy will soar high this year on the heels of a long list of new, huge foreign investments coming into the country, the latest of which is from Texas Instruments Inc., the Dallas-headquartered world’s largest maker of mobile phone chips.

“This is investor confidence in the Philippines at its highest level. And that will add new luster to the country’s standing in the eyes of foreign governments and creditors,” Team Unity senatorial candidate Sultan Jamalul Kiram said. “Moreover, it will generate new job opportunities, a new addition to a long line of benefits people now draw from President Arroyo’s “8 by ’08” program of social payback for the masa.

Texas Instrument, which has been operating a semi-conductor assembly plant at the Baguio Export Processing Zone near the Loakan airport in Baguio City since 1979, wants to expand its operations by putting up another plant, estimated to reach $1 billion, at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. The project is expected to employ about 3,000 personnel.

“TI’s decision to put up its expansion project in Clark rather than in China reflects its confidence in the strength of the Philippine economy on the Arroyo watch,” Kiram said. “It is also a new vote of confidence that the Arroyo administration and Team Unity, too stand for.”

Texas Instruments made its announcement of its Clark expansion project in Malacanang, wherein President Arroyo attributed TI’s decision to her administration’s “strong international alliances” that enabled it to “forge new partnerships that have led to billions (of pesos) in investments that have created millions of new jobs.”

“The global investors are voting, so to speak, with their money. There is no greater proof of a group’s belief in a country’s economic strength as well as its potential than by putting their money where their mouth is,” Kiram said. “And these investments are “no fluke but a portent of things to come as our economic numbers, already good, and would become better.”

Kiram added these investments would not have been made possible without the economic reforms that the administration had painstakingly put in place over the past two years, to correct in part fiscal errors it had inherited from the Estrada regime.

“The contrast can’t be ignored: investments are coming in, while in the past, it was about capital flight, especially during the time when the country was rocked by payola scandals involving the previous president,” Kiram said.

Kiram said to sustain the economic upsurge, the people should elect members to the Senate who would support, not obstruct, economic growth.

Team Unity senatorial bets have pledged to craft a legislative agenda that would complement and strengthen the current investment climate in order to encourage more foreign direct investments, and allow the Arroyo administration to raise more funds for “social payback” programs like infrastructure and social services.

“Wait until the financial floodgates of Asia’s big businessmen open and pour into the Philippinesand splurge into our markets and businesses. The year has just begun and we have just started,” Kiram said.

In the first quarter of 2007, the government had recorded billions of pesos in new foreign investments to pour in scheduled projects like mining, property development and business process outsourcing, thus:

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd., for example, is now undertaking a feasibility study for cobalt and nickel smelter project in Mindanao. Sumitomo Metal, which has substantial interests in a nickel project Palawan, has estimated the project cost to exceed $1 billion.

Canada’s Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. has just been granted a permit to explore the nickel-laterite potential of 3,757-hectare area covering three towns in Eastern Samar. The firm also announced its intent to put up a nickel refinery in the area which, at 2007 price, would cost nearly $3 billion.

China’s RockCheck Steel Group Company has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine government expressing their intent to put up a nickel refinery plant in Manicani Island, also in Eastern Samar. Project cost is expected to reach $300 million.

While Dubai-based Kingdom Hotel Investment, through its founder Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, has entered into a venture with Ayala Land Inc. to put up a $153-million hotel in premiere Makati City, China’s Shimao conglomerate, owned by property developer-billionaire Xu Rongmao, has pledged to bring into the country a total of $4 billion in investments in the Philippines.

And Hongkong’s Li Ka-shing, owner of Hutchison Whampoa, has just poured in his capital to venture in a call-center business in Manila.###

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