MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday encouraged Thai business leaders to either invest or expand their operations in the Philippines, which Duterte said boasts of a "fast-learning workforce" and a "corruption-free business climate."
Duterte made the invitation to 24 Thai bankers, hoteliers and other investors on the sidelines of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok.
"I invite you to ride on the momentum of Philippine growth story and invest especially in the new industrial destinations in Metro Manila, Pampanga-Clark, Cebu, Bohol and Davao," he said.
"With a sound macroeconomic policy and ongoing reforms, we guarantee a competitive and corruption free business climate and a highly skilled and fast-learning workforce."
Investments in the Philippines are "assured of protection and gains," Duterte said, citing the country's recent BBB+ credit rating upgrade from S&P Global.
"It is the highest rating in out history, notch below A credit rating," he said. A high credit rating gives a borrower access to a wider pool of funds.
The President also invited Thai investors to participate in the Philippines' massive infrastructure push that is now "in full swing."
"Our economic indicators are on the uptrend," he said.
"We are making significant headway in transforming the Philippines into a more stable and secure place for investments."
Thailand is the Philippines' third largest foreign investor in the first quarter of 2019, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"We view this courtesy call as an affirmation of investor confidence to the competent and skilled leadership of the President," Panelo said.
"He continues to positively turn the local economy around through his various reform initiatives and make the Philippines as one of the highest growing economies in the region."
Days before the summit, Duterte issued an administrative order to "hasten" the development of business hubs in rural areas to spur economic activity in provinces.
— With a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News