Speech of President Arroyo at the Groundbreaking Ceremonies of Shangri-La Hotel

Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Philippines
At the Groundbreaking Ceremonies of Shangri-La Hotel

[Delivered at The Fort, Taguig City, July 3, 2008]

Thank you very much Secretary Yap for your introduction.

Sir Robert Kouk, Ambassador Cojuangco, our three Senators Ed Angara, Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero, Cabinet members, Mayor Freddie Tinga, other officers of the Kouk group and the San Miguel group, ladies and gentlemen.

In the space of the last hour we have seen two laudable objectives. One, that will go a long way to attracting visitors and investors and enhancing our image as a choice tourist destination in Asia; and the other, which will have a great impact towards food self-sufficiency for our countrymen. Both are important, both redound to the benefit of the Filipino people. To the Kouk group, thank you for your faith in the Philippines.

I’ve met with Mr. Kouk in two of my working visits abroad: in Singapore and in Hong Kong. The purpose of which was to secure new commitments for job creation and investments in the Philippines. And we are happy that our meetings have borne such valuable fruit. We are encouraged by your investing our country. Thank you very much, Sir Robert Kouk.

Shangri-la is one of our image models for demonstrating that the Philippines has become an increasingly attractive location for tourism investments, along with other services that you will see already coming up and still to come up in this beautiful development in Fort Bonifacio. Congratulations to Freddie Tinga and congratulations also to the executives of Fort Bonifacio.

In fact, we think we are the best value and the best place to invest in Asia. We offer a strategic location in a fast growing region. Our work force is well-educated, productive and English speaking. We are cutting red tape, especially, I am sure here in Taguig, to simplify the requirements for investment.

In fact, in the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Washington, when we were talking about our compliance with requirements of the Millennium Challenge for governing well to fight poverty, Taguig was one of our examples of a very business-friendly environment in which it takes only a very short time to start a business. Congratulations, Freddie.

Our strengths are working to sustain our competitiveness for investment. And we are happy to hear that aside from Shangri-la, there will be four other hotels coming up here, but Freddie says Shangri-la will definitely be the most luxurious of them all.

In the rest of our country, other heavy investments have been and are coming in. Sir Robert already talked about Shangri-la Boracay. And we have others — huge investments like Texas Instruments in its way for a fabrication plant in Clark Economic Zone, which is attracting its suppliers and downstream customers to come, and therefore promoting a whole industrial estate within the Clark Economic Zone to cater to Texas Instruments’ customers and suppliers downstream.

Korea’s Hanjin has a multi-billion dollar shipyard in Subic, and tomorrow we will be inaugurating their first large ship coming out of there. Marubeni, Tokyo Electric, AES and other electric power giants purchased power plants in the Philippines worth billions not to mention Ashmore’s purchase of controlling shares in Petron.

During our trip to New York, Libby’s foods announced a $500-million investment in a pineapple plantation and processing plant in Bicol. I mention Libby’s because as we have said earlier, we are glad to have food investments in our country.

As our speakers have said earlier, there are big issues rocking the world namely, the high price of food and fuel that is affecting everyone around the globe but particularly the poor.

At every occasion, we work to help secure additional support for stabilizing prices and ways to ensure food supplies. That is why to the Kouk and San Miguel groups, thank you for answering the government’s call for private sector investment in the issue of food security.

That Southeast Asia’s largest food and beverage company and one of the region’s largest food, sugar and vegetable oil companies have convened to launch this program feeding the future offers a signal that food security transcends both the private sector, the public sector and private institutions. It demands action from all sectors.

When government and private sector come together for public good, the results can be powerful. So, we thank the Kouk and San Miguel groups for your generosity, for your cooperation in food security.

And may I add, I would also like to thank you because I have a note here that the San Miguel Corporation will be donating half a million dollars for the victims of typhoon Frank, and that the Kouk Group of Companies will also donate half a million dollars to match the donation of San Miguel Corporation.

Thank you, thank you, thank you and see you all again when we inaugurate Boracay Shangri-la in November.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Source: www.op.gov.ph

Macapagal-Arroyo, G. (2008). Speech of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Groundbreaking Ceremonies of Shangri-La Hotel. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20100412120050/http://www.op.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1620&Itemid=38