President Noynoy Aquino and his delegation made full use of their brief visit in Australia to draw more support from key business partners here.

In a press statement, the President said that Australian shipbuilder Austal plans to expand its shipbuilding operations in Cebu, which will create 1,000 new jobs.

Iconic Australian company Telstra, which already has 10,000 employees in the Philippines, plans to expand its operations which will also create an additional 2,000 to 4,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile, Batangas-based Atlantic Gulf & Pacific has a contract with Australian business consortium partner, JKC, which will require an additional 1,500 new jobs at the AG&P facility in Batangas.

On top of providing new employment opportunities for Filipinos, the Philippine government met with Macquarie bank to discuss a major infrastructure project. His government also signed a new air services agreement with the Australian government which will help improve the commercial airline services in the Philippines.

Besides his scheduled business meetings, the President, with assistance from the Asia Society Australia and the Australia Philippine Business Council, attended a roundtable discussion with top Australian chief executives, including ANZ Bank chief executive Mike Smith.

President Aquino’s visit comes at a time when the Philippines has demonstrated a marked economic turnaround. Under his administration, which came into office in 2010, the country has seen radical improvements in access to education and healthcare.

His government is also firing on all cylinders, implementing reforms and encouraging more business activity across multiple sectors – tourism, agriculture, business process outsourcing, mining, telecommunications, shipbuilding and infrastructure.

Judging by the rate in which the Philippine government is attracting foreign capital to its shores, the country can finally get rid of its label as the ‘sick man of Asia’.

“Kaya ngakungdati, halos magmakaawa tayo namamuhunan ang mga banyagang negosyante sa Pilipinas, ngayon sila na mismo ang pumipila para makapagnegosyo po sa atin.” [English translation: In the past, we practically have to beg for foreign businesses to invest their capital in the Philippines, now they’re the ones who are lining up to do business with us.”]


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