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MANILA, Philippines -- President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday said he is bringing home $2.5 billion in investments from his trip to the United Kingdom and the United States.
In his arrival speech at the NAIA, the president said British and other European investors have signed memoranda of understanding or agreements totalling over $1 billion. Among those who signed such MOUs and MOAs were Pasar, owned and operated by Glencors; Gas Asia with Aboitiz Ventures; Royal Dutch Shell; and Nestle.
Cebu Pacific has signed a $280 million contract with Rolls Royce, which will service the Trent 700 engines of its Airbus A330 aircraft, the President said. Rolls Royce’s aviation arm TotalCare will help CebPac in its fleet expansion toward long-haul operations that would serve markets outside Asia Pacific, including those in Europe, the Middle East, Oceania, and the United States, the President said.
Aquino said these deals were sealed because UK Prime Minister David Cameron, whom he met at the latter’s official residence at 10 Downing Street, believes in his government’s good governance and anti-corruption campaigns.
The President also extended an invitation to Cameron to visit the Philippines, a first for an elected UK prime minister in office.
From his US visit, where he met President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Aquino said he brought home $1 billion worth of partnership and investment agreement swith companies like Sithe Global, Denham Capital, GN Power, and Underwriters Laboratories.
Aquino said that the US also agreed to waive $23 million of Philippines loans in a debt-for-nature swap deal where the debt payment will instead go to tree planting. He said he was also able to secure an additional $30 million under the Partnership for Growth program to support the country’s fight against poverty.
In his almost hour-long meeting with Obama at the White House on Friday, Aquino said he was able to secure Washington’s commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty. He said he was assured of US support in the country’s ongoing efforts to upgrade its defense capabilities.
Aquino also briefed Obama on developments in the West Philippine Sea and received support for his efforts to defuse the tension and seek a diplomatic solution to the impasse at Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal).
In that meeting, both heads of state underscored the importance of the principles of freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce.
During a luncheon meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had expressed her support for the National Coast Watch System that will come in the form of intelligence exchanges on maritime domain issues and funding for the construction of the National Coast Watch Center as well as equipment and training.
The National Coast Watch System was formed by Executive Order 57. Signed in September, it calls for the establishment of a National Coast Watch Center headed by the Philippine Coast Guard to implement and coordinate maritime security operations in the country.
Clinton also announced an increase of Peace Corps volunteers to be assigned to the Philippines, Aquino said.