President Rodrigo Duterte has good reason to be positive about the Philippine economy as more Chinese investors have expressed intention to invest in the Philippines.
"Yes, I'm upbeat to our economy because China is coming in," President Duterte said in an exclusive interview with GMA News' Jessica Soho last Thursday night.
The Board of Investments (BOI) has reportedly said 40 Chinese investors are eyeing the Philippines as area for investment opportunities particularly in Mindanao.
"Before we are limited because when was the last time China paid attention on us. It was until my last trip to China to talk to them," the President said.
Last October, President Duterte visited China and brought home USD15 billion worth of investment projects and USD9 billion financing agreements from the world's second largest economy.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has said the investment agreements would create at least 2 million jobs over the next five years.
China is reportedly the Philippines' second largest partner with USD17 billion in total trade between the two economies in 2015.
Aside from trade and investment, China is also helping President Duterte in his strong campaign against illegal drugs.
With regards to territorial dispute West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, President Duterte said he told the Chinese leaders that the time will come within his six-year term that he has to tackle the issue with China.
"I told the Chinese (leaders) when I was there, there will be time during my term that we will have to talk about the arbitral," he said.
President Duterte was referring to the arbitration case that the Philippines filed and won against China during the previous administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Based on the last July's decision of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the WPS and that China's 'nine-dash line' is invalid.
The President said he will only discuss the WPS issue if China will start extracting the seabed of the resources-rich WPS which is also partly claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei.
"When you begin to extract the oil, you begin to extract the mineral there, what about me? You are the owner, I'm also the owner so what's going to happen to us?" President Duterte said.
President Duterte, however, clarified that war should not be an option in stressing the country's claim over the disputed territory.
"Even if I'm in fantasy, do you think we will win a war. I will not (declare war) but I will make a noise certainly because I claim to be the owner," he said.
The President said he prefers to use diplomacy in solving the dispute with China.
"What I'm playing is really with diplomacy because China is ignoring us. So we have no tourists. I don't have the capacity to declare war. I have to talk about trade," President Duterte said.
Source: Philippines News Agency