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Japanese firms pledge continued investments

Posted on September 28, 2011

AT LEAST THREE Japanese companies plan to keep expanding in the Philippines, Malacañang yesterday announced, as President Benigno S. C. Aquino III and his economic managers pitched for fresh investments and tie-ups under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) program.

The pledges were made in meetings between Mr. Aquino and Japanese executives, according to a Palace transcript of a briefing made by Sec. Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office.

Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd., a manufacturing firm specializing in nanotechnology and currently employing 2,400 employees in the Philippines, will establish its first power chip capacitor plant in Laguna’s First Philippine Industrial Park, Mr. Coloma said in Tokyo.

“They are one of the world’s largest makers of electronic components used in many devices such as computers, mobile phones, automotive navigation, airbag systems and medical equipment,” he said, adding that the plant is expected to be operational by October next year.

Toyota Motor Corp., meanwhile, plans to expand its dealership network to 65 from the existing 29 by 2016, for which they committed P3.6 billion and an estimated 5,000 jobs.

“They are now looking at ... next generation components manufacturing and localization of spare parts in connection with their manufacturing activities here,” Mr. Coloma added.

Lastly, hospital equipment maker Terumo Corp. presented a letter of commitment to Mr. Aquino as it seeks to expand in Biñan, Laguna.

“They want to double or triple their work force as soon as the new land or new space would have been acquired,” Mr. Coloma said.

He also noted that Marubeni Corp. had met with Mr. Aquino and his team to conduct discussions on ventures such as its Pagbilao and Sual power plant investments, light railways for Metro Manila and a possible wastewater treatment project for the metropolis.

Following the meetings, Mr. Aquino participated in a roundtable discussion with members of the Japanese and Tokyo Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee.

Mr. Coloma said government officials told businessmen that both solicited and unsolicited proposals would be considered under the PPP framework.

For mining, he said executives were told that the Philippines would prefer to deal with multinationals that presumably have better technology and safety records.

Mr. Aquino, during the Philippine Economic Forum later in the day, reiterated a pledge to foster transparency and an economy that “permits fair competition.”

“My government has vowed to follow the formal processes for getting deals approved, such as proper and transparent bidding, to help eliminate the preponderance of under-the-table transactions with bloated commissions secretly pocketed by corrupt officials,” he said.

“With your advanced pace in high technology, Japan could very well be an even larger source of investments for the Philippines to boost our country’s agricultural production and processing capabilities, energy sourcing, tourism and infrastructure projects.”

Mr. Aquino ended his day with a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshiniko Noda. -- JPDP