MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Strive for 'infra success,' Duke of York prods RP

Published by MAC on 2006-11-15

Strive for 'infra success,' Duke of York prods RP

The Philippine Star

November 2006

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, urged the Philippines to strive for "infrastructure success" as soon as possible in order to attract more investors.

Meeting with President Arroyo and other Philippine officials, Prince Andrew said he was impressed with the country's economic growth but the "Philippines needs an infrastructure success."

Mrs. Arroyo said the government is "working on that now. We could now afford large infrastructure (projects), unlike in the past because we now have the funds."

The Duke of York also told the President that many European businessmen had signified their interest in the Philippines' mining sector.

Mrs. Arroyo welcomed this but admitted the government had just opened up the sector and that "there's still a lot of mistrust about mining because of past unpleasant experiences."

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, who was in the meeting, asked Prince Andrew to advocate for increased British investments in the renewable and alternative energy markets in the Philippines during his visit here for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-British diplomatic relations.

Lotilla said the Duke of York showed keen interest in coco-biodiesel fuel and the cultivation of jatropha, sugarcane and cassava plantations to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

The Prince had asked Lotilla to brief him on Philippine initiatives to address climate change.

Acknowledging the need for an urgent global response to address risks posed by climate change, Prince Andrew, who is also the United Kingdom's Special Representative for Trade and Investment, said there were many areas for British-Philippine partnership in the development, marketing and utilization of clean fuels and energy technology as well as in the exchange of information, expertise and best practices.

Aside from discussing power and renewable energy sources, Mrs. Arroyo and Prince Andrew also talked about trade.

The two leaders expressed their hope for enduring and continuing good relations between the Philippines and the United Kingdom over dinner Friday night at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City with members of the diplomatic corps and some friends.

The Prince arrived on Thursday for a one-day private visit.

Mrs. Arroyo and the Duke of York met during her official visit to London last September. They had tea together at Buckingham Palace and discussed the possible enhancement of trade and investments between their countries.

Lotilla said the Duke of York also "got in touch with British investors in the Philippines."

Asked if there were new investment prospects, Lotilla said "they just want to build on existing investments."

The United Kingdom is one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines. British investments in the country are concentrated in power, energy, agri-business, transportation, water and financial services.

Bilateral trade between the two countries is worth $12 billion annually, with the balance in favor of the Philippines. - Aurea Calica

 

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