Despite destabilization attempts against her government, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo assured Hong Kong business leaders Monday that her country is full of investment opportunities, and economic reforms are continuing.
"I believe the Philippines is the best investment area in Asia, if not the world. I am determined to convince international investors of this point," Arroyo said in a media roundtable.
She said progress has been made in economic and fiscal reform. In April, the Philippines achieved its highest monthly tax collection ever and recorded the first budget surplus in four years.
She admitted that the major challenge ahead of the economic reform is how to turn the achievement of Phase I reform to the benefit of Phase II and to achieve energy independence.
International investment is important for Philippines, she said, adding that Mainland and Hong Kong investors are among the major investors in industries such as mining and infrastructure.
The south China Sea is turned from "a place of conflicting to a place of cooperation" when companies from China, Philippines and Vietnam agreed to explore for oil together in March, she said.
During her one-day trip to Hong Kong , Arroyo also met Tony Kwok, the former head of Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption and now the president's anti-corruption adviser Monday morning. Arroyo said she is taking Hong Kong's experience to lick graft and corruption.
Arroyo is set to back to Manila in the evening for the visits of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Gambian President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh to the country.