Top US firms meet to analyse Philippines

The US embassy in Manila

Members of the US business elite representing the heads of major companies were briefed of the challenges and opportunities present in the Philippines’ mining, BPO, energy and infrastructure sectors, it was revealed during an exclusive interview with the Makati Business Club (MBC), the organiser of the dialogue.

The board meeting assembled on January 24 through the US-Philippine Society, a non-profit and independent organisation that seeks to raise the profile of the Philippines in the US, gathered top-executives from General Electric, JPMorgan Chase, the US Education Finance Group, Procter & Gamble, Chevron, Peregrine Development International and other influential firms.

“The US delegation met with [Philippine] government officials, including President Benigno Aquino III [on January 23], as well as top business leaders from major companies, such as Ayala Group,” said Executive Director Peter Perfecto of the MBC, an organisation supportive of the incumbent government that represents over 800 CEOs and senior executives associated with almost 450 of the largest corporations in the Philippines.

During the dialogue, the US visitors listened to business updates by the President of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Benjamin Philip Romualdez; the President and CEO of the Manila Electric Company, Oscar Reyes; the Country Chairman of Shell, Edgar Chua; the Senior Executive Director of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, Gillian Virata; and the President and CEO of Metro Pacific Investments Corp, Jose Maria Lim.

On January 25, a tour of the Clark Freeport Zone’s logistics facilities and a dialogue on business and good governance at the Asian Institute of Management served as a conclusion to the tour.

The MBC is an influential business group in the Philippines and also responsible for organising a visit by the Secretary of Finance to Davao, Mindanao for a conference in 2012, as well as large forums concerning the nation’s second largest island for Manila businesses.

“Ayala Group has had two meetings with the business community in Manila showcasing success stories from Mindanao. They named vibrant companies of the island, such as La Frutera, an agribusiness company that is the largest exporter of bananas in the Philippines,” Perfecto said. La Frutera runs plantations in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, with Muslims making up 95 per cent of its employees, mostly rebel returnees from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The US-Philippine Society was formally launched on July 7, 2012, during a visit by President Aquino to Washington DC.