By: Jeannette I. Andrade - Reporter / @jiandradeINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 03:39 PM June 03, 2017
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III called on trade secretary Ramon Lopez to ensure that only legitimate traders are part of business delegations brought along by President Rodrigo Duterte to foreign trips.
Pimentel stressed that prospective foreign investors should not only be protected from corruption but also from fraud and deceit.
In a statement, the senate president urged the DTI secretary to “accredit only honest-to-goodness Philippine businesses in the delegations abroad” of Mr. Duterte considering the foreign trips are intended both to corner big ticket investments and forge closer relations.
Pimentel was referring to Mr. Duterte’s assurance to potential investors from Russia that there would be no corruption in their dealings with his administration.
Lopez and the business delegation as well as other government officials stayed behind in Moscow when the President had to rush back to the Philippines because of the situation in Marawi City.
The visit to Russia resulted in the signing of ten agreements, including those on defense cooperation, tourism promotions, agricultural enhancement, transportation technology, international film and art festivals, trade and investments, and on industry development.
Pimentel said that Mr. Duterte has vowed to pursue a drug-free country and a corrupt-free government and even offered to personally take care of complaints aired by foreign businessmen in their dealings here.
“We should also provide them with a fraud-free investment experience in the country,” he stressed.
Apart from securing deals in Russia, Mr. Duterte’s past visits has resulted in US$15-billion pledge for infrastructure from the Chinese government and a US$3-billion credit facility from the Bank of China. Japan also offered US$ 8.1-billion worth of loans and private investments.