Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his meeting with the Philippines-Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
12 April 2017

Kindly sit down.

His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Nasser Al-Ghafis, Vice Chairman Monsieur Al Kharj, the officials and members of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Saudi businessmen, Secretary Enrique Manalo, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

This is my first outside trip, aside from the ASEAN countries where we are the host country this year. But outside of the ASEAN countries, this is my first visit outside, and I choose Saudi Arabia for its generosity and kindness and benevolence of the King and the Saudi people.

I have to make the trip to thank you, Saudi Arabia, for hosting almost a million workers here. I hope that their industry that help your economy because they also help my country. 

Anyway, Saudi Arabia has contributed to the economy of the Philippines. In the matter of remittances, of their salaries and wages, forms part of our domestic and national domestic gross domestic product.

We are happy that we have been invited to visit the Kingdom and to talk to you about business. You know, most of all, we would like to thank again your Kingdom for not forgetting us, and even in the matter of oil and energy, almost 80 percent of our use comes from your country.

And your goodness and your benevolence and also you help my country educate our people because these workers here remit the money and to finance the education of the young. And so, anyway, the Saudi money has indirectly benefitted my country.

So we come here to thank you personally the country Kingdom itself and we would like to invite those who are interested to invest in the East ASEAN. We are just beginning to improve on our laws that would admit with liberal make easy for you to enter the Philippines and do business.

There is no corruption now in my administration. And we make it easy for you to do business in the Philippines. You are guaranteed of your return on investments and for whatever. We are just interested at this point in time. That’s not much about taxes, but about how we can help the Filipinos get jobs. Employment is very important. And as it is we have a very large population, almost 110-million people. We are not as par really with the rest of the economies of the world.

We need investments in my country, and if you may want to go there and invest, we can give you the best place and best advice to go about earning in my country.

I would also like to confer with you from my officials, the Cabinet members, of— you might be interested to invest in whether it’s a— The economy of the Philippines is really agriculture based. And so the greatest promise of trade would really be food, and we are expanding our halal industry.

We hope that someday our products will find their way in that is acceptable by your standards. We will comply with all the requirements of your importations. There is no doubt about it. We continue also to export the only resource that we have now is the human resource.

I said I hope that we have contributed to the movement of the economy here by the workforce, the human resource, that we provided. I would like also from the bottom of my heart to say thank you for helping us.

Anyway, business is business and anytime that you feel that there is promise of business in my country, feel free. We give you the best incentives and the best environment that we can offer for you.

So again we would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk to you, and maybe through our Cabinet members and Secretaries we can just select what type of investments that you may want to introduce into my country and would really be available.

Either we come here again with my officials or you can visit us. You are always welcome to visit the Philippines. We will be honored by your visit and if possible also give us a time with you to discuss about the opportunities. And we need that we cannot do it now but my foreign affairs secretary and our embassies are ready to help you.

Again I would not take long but say that I’m honored by your warmth, by your hospitality, by your reception, and by your perspective of how the Filipino works.

Thank you and good day.