DOHA, QATAR — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the Business Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha on April 15, Saturday.
The President commenced his first engagement in his Qatar state visit, making a pitch on the prospect of agriculture in the Philippines.
“(The) Philippines is an agricultural country. We know that we can offer you so many things from the bounties of the Earth. We have mining, we have everything, ore, uranium… So if you go into business, the Philippines is big enough to accommodate any kind of vegetation,” the Chief Executive said.
“I will offer the Philippines not only to the familiar businessmen and even the mining and all; it’s open for everybody and there is no corruption,” he added.
True to his word, the President had just recently fired high-ranking government officials allegedly involved in corruption. He ordered the Bureau of Customs not to open bags or suitcases of travelers, particularly the overseas Filipino workers.
Furthermore, President Duterte assured Qatari businessmen that under his government all contracts would be honored.
“So these are the things that I guarantee to you. Everything will be all right. Everything will be followed. There will be no harassments. There will be no asking of money. It will be a truly honest to goodness transaction,” Duterte vowed as he acknowledged the significant contribution of the Gulf states in the growth of the Philippine economy.
All of these efforts and initiatives, including the President’s visits abroad, were part of what Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez termed as “Dutertenomics”. This refers to the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda aimed to uplift the quality of life of the Filipino people.
In total, the President’s Gulf state visits brought home a total of US$925-milion (or Php46-billion) worth of investment deals among Saudi, Bahraini, and Qatari businessmen, which expected to create approximately 62,000 jobs.
Present during the forum are Qatari trade officials and businessmen led by Qatar Chamber of Commerce Inc. (QCCI) Vice Chairman Muhammad Bin Ahmed Bin Towar Al Kuwari, who delivered the welcome remarks.
On the other hand, among those who accompanied President Duterte in the forum included Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and other Filipino business and government executives.