Category : News
Date : February 11, 2018
Title : Romualdez vows to help raise funds for Philippines infra program
Article : LOS ANGELES, California – Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez has vowed to help raise the much-needed fund for the country’s P8 trillion, five-year infrastructure development program.

In an interview with The STAR, Romualdez said together with the Department of Finance (DOF), they would push for the promotion of investments and bilateral agreements between the Philippines and the US.

Asked about his priorities for 2018, the diplomat said, “Let me begin with the macro-priority that is Build Build Build, one of the most ambitious infrastructure programs in our history. It is a massive P8-trillion infrastructure development program for the next five years.”

“Together with the economic team led by Finance Secretary Dominguez, we hope to be able to invite more American participation in the administration’s flagship project,” he said.

In terms of sectoral priorities, Romualdez said they would focus on the manufacturing resurgence program.

“We hope to encourage more investments from or partnerships with American firms, especially in electronics, textiles, garments, and other value-added products,” he said.

Romualdez is also optimistic these initiatives would lead to more partnerships with US-based companies.

“Corollary efforts in this regard will be finding synergies with American partners towards enhancing our design industry and the innovation eco-system,” he said.

In line with Philippine government’s rural development priority, he said they plan to develop the American market for the Philippines’ agri-business and food manufactures exports, including in niche products such as in halal and specialty food.

He said the services sector would likewise remain vital as an engine for continued economic growth.
“We will seek to expand American investments in the business process management industry especially in value added subsectors,” he said.

In tourism, he said they would continue to support the Department of Tourism’s efforts to encourage American companies and associations to hold their meetings, events and conventions in the Philippines.

“We are also preparing to launch the 12th Ambassador’s Tour, which will feature Manila, Cebu and Bohol as main destinations,” he said.

The ambassador also noted that “during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Manila last year, he also discussed with President Duterte, and in fact welcomed, our interest in a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States. I also intend to vigorously follow through on their discussions with my US counterparts.”

Lastly, he said his first year in office would zero in “on sharing our economic story here in the United States.”

“I intend to spend much of my first year or two undertaking economic diplomacy outreach in major trade and business centers around the country. We will share the good news that the Philippines remains open for business; and is one of the most competitive and business-friendly economies in dynamic Southeast Asia,” he added.

Romualdez was appointed ambassador to the US in July 2017 by President Duterte. On Nov. 29, 2017, he presented his credentials to Trump and formally assumed office.

He is also concurrently the Philippines’ emissary to the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia.