Duterte assures South Korean businessmen of their safety after death of Jee Ick Joo
President Rodrigo Duterte assured on Tuesday South Korean businessmen of their safety in the Philippines.
Duterte made the statement following the death of a South Korean businessman allegedly in the hands of the policemen inside the police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City in October 2016.
"I know that there are lot of misgivings about the law and order situation in the Philippines. And I must admit there were some incidents in the past that did not augur well for people to even consider Philippines as an investment area. Like just any other country, we’re facing numerous law and order problem including my own national police," he said.
"If you are a law-abiding citizen of a country who wants to be more rich and you are handsome, you will be protected. I will see to that," he added.
South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was kidnapped in October 2016 from his home in Angeles City. He was strangled to death inside Camp Crame and his remains were cremated and allegedly flushed down the toilet in a funeral home in Caloocan.
Duterte also assured the investors that South Korea's help to the Philippines, including the donation of motor vehicles, to the Philippine National Police would be put to good use.
He said the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Board of Investments, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Seoul, are ready to assist the South Korean investors in their business undertakings in the Philippines.
"You know what? You think of investments in the Philippines and you need an agent in the Philippines maybe to do some work, consider the President of the Republic of the Philippines as your agent," Duterte added.
During Duterte's first visit to South Korea, 23 business agreements were also signed with an estimated total value of $4.9 billion generating new jobs of 50,000, said Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.
"This would be on top of the five G-to-G, government-to-government agreements," he said.
Some South Korean business firms engaged in engineering and construction, power plant, kimchi production, and assembling of vehicles, among other, expressed intention to expand operation in the Philippines, the official said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the South Korean government has promised to provide a total of $1 billion in the form of official development assistance from 2017 to 2022.
On Monday, Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in witnessed the signing of five agreements.
These include the memorandum of understanding on scientific and technological cooperation; MOU on trade and economic cooperation; MOU for cooperation on the expansion of renewable energy deployment; MOU concerning cooperation in the field of transport; and loan agreement on New Cebu International Container Port Project.
Dominguez said the loan agreement for the port project amounted to $172.64 million.
"The new container port will increase the operational capacity of the main cargo way in Cebu. It will help alleviate the road congestion in the Cebu-based port area and provide a more efficient and reliable transport infrastructure to enhance the flow of goods and services in the Visayas," he said.
Also in the pipeline for possible South Korean funding are the $50-million project preparation facility for the National Irrigation Administration; a $100-million financing for the new Dumaguete Airport Development Project; and a $41-million project for the implementation of electronic receipt, invoices and sales reporting system that will help us monitor all the taxes paid by the retailers in the Philippines.
He said for the remaining $636 million, he proposed to his counterpart to use it to two or three of the 75 flagship infrastructure projects identified in the Build, Build, Build program.
"We promised to forward to the Korean government as soon as possible a list of the flagship project for their consideration," he said.
Duterte is expected to arrive in the country Tuesday night from his three-day visit to Seoul. Celerina Monte/DMS