Malacañang defends UK trip of Cabinet economic team
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang came to the defense of several Cabinet members who flew to the United Kingdom amid soaring inflation in the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing on Thursday, September 27, said the UK trip of at least 7 secretaries is "very well justified" since its intention was to boost the economy by encouraging foreign direct investments.
"Sa tingin ko po very well justified ang presensiya, lalong lalo na ng mga economic managers, because they are marketing the Philippines and pagka sila nakakalap ng investors, magkakaroon tayo ng mas maraming trabaho, mas maraming kapital, at mas maraming kita para sa mga Pilipino," he said.
(In my view, their presence there is very well justified because they are marketing the Philippines, and if they get investors, Filipinos would get more jobs, more capital, and more earnings.)
The UK delegation, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, includes Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat. Also present was Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon.
Roque said the UK trip could even help address inflation, though he did not explain how.
"Kinakailangan po na i-promote ang Pilipinas as an investment destination. Panlaban po natin 'yan, hindi lang sa inflation kundi sa mga banta laban sa ating ekonomiya," said Duterte's spokesman.
(We need to promote the Philippines as an investment destination. It's our way to fight, not only inflation, but other threats to our economy.)
Roque also brushed aside critics of the trip, branding all of them as people sympathetic to the opposition.
There were sentiments voiced online questioning the timing of the overseas trip, as it was held at a time when poor Filipino households are struggling with high prices of basic commodities.
"Hindi po mawawala ang mga tumutuligsa. Ang tawag sa kanila ay dilawan (The critics won't go away. They are called yellows)," he said, referring to those sympathetic to the opposition Liberal Party.
The highlight of the Cabinet delegation's "3-day" trip was a Philippine Economic Briefing where they sought to convince British company representatives to invest in the Philippines.
The forum, held on September 25 at London's Four Seasons Hotel, was "well-attended by members of the British business community," according to a Department of Finance (DOF) press release.
Dominguez delivered the keynote speech where he highlighted the Philippine government's new measures to ensure ease of doing business, tax reform, and the Duterte administration's Build, Build, Build infrastructure push.
Present at the forum were British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce; Philippine Ambassador to the UK Antonio Lagdameo; top executives of Standard Chartered, UBS, Bank of China, JP Morgan, Citibank, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs; members of the UK-ASEAN Business Council; and members of the Philippine business sector.
The UK is among the Philippines' top 10 sources of foreign direct investments, said the DOF.
Aside from the forum, the Cabinet delegation also dropped by London's first Jollibee branch. – Rappler.com