BEIJING (MindaNews/30 August) – A horde of Filipino-Chinese businessmen have arrived with President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday, a clear manifestation of the willingness of the government to boost trade and investment with China, the Philippines’ third largest trading partner.
There are at least 270 Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the presidential delegation. Among the businessmen are JG Summit Holdings, Inc. founder and chairman emeritus John Gokongwei Jr., SGV & Co. founding chairman Washington Z. SyCip, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PCCI) Council of Business Leaders chairman Jose T. Pardo, Jollibee Foods Corp. chairman Tony Tan Caktiong, Nabasan Subic Development Corp. chairman Antonio O. Cojuangco, Metrobank Group founder and chairman George S.K. Ty, SM Investments Corp. co-chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson, Liwayway Holdings Company Ltd. chairman Carlos Chan, San Miguel Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, Lucio C. Tan Group of Companies founder and chairman Lucio C. Tan, Alliance Global Group Inc. (Megaworld Corp.) chairman Andrew L. Tan, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Erramon I. Aboitiz, Zest-O Corporation chairman Alfredo M. Yao, Federation of Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. President Tan Ching, PCCU-PCBC President Francis L. Chua. Based on the President’s schedule provided by Malacañang Media Accreditation and Relations Office, there are at least eight economic meetings with private corporations in China that the President will attend here in Beijing on Wednesday.
The Philippine government has said it is eyeing $60-billion worth of trade and investment after the five-day state visit. The Philippine government is spending P25 million for President Benigno Aquino III’s five-day state visit, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said in a statement. Aside from businessmen, the President tagged along Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and Energy Secretary Rene Almendras as part of the presidential delegation. “The primary objective of the President’s visit is to further strengthen bilateral ties between the Philippines and China, especially in the aspect of trade and commerce,” Ochoa said. “President Aquino will be meeting Chinese businessmen and economic policy makers, and given the potential of both our economies, we hope to close investment deals that will be beneficial for all those involved,” Ochoa added. The P25-million budget covers expenses for the special commercial flight, hotel accommodations, food, transportation, telecommunications and equipment requirements, among others, the press statement said. The President is expected to visit the cities of Shanghai and Xiamen, where he will be meeting with local officials and major business groups and sign agreements aimed to boost trade ties. He will also hold a meeting with Filipinos based in this premier economic hub. President Aquino’s last stop is Xiamen, which visit includes a trip to Hongjian Village in Fujian province where he will view the araucaria tree planted in 1988 by his mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino. The President will then plant his own tree in the village and interact with the members of the Xu (Co) clan, where his late mother traced her ancestral roots more than two decades ago. (Darwin Wally T. Wee / MindaNews)