08 May 2007, Official Website of Team Unity, Philippines

Team Unity has welcomed plans by Canadian firm Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. (CVMR®) to invest $3 billion in the Philippines, describing it as new proof of renewed investor confidence in the country spawned by the economic reforms painstakingly put in place by President Arroyo.

Another global company, Sumitomo Metal, earlier announced its plan to put up a $1-billion nickel-mining project in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao. The announcement followed the plan of Swiss-based Xstrata Plc, the world’s fifth largest mining firm, to develop copper deposit in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Team Unity senatorial candidate Prospero Pichay said the entry of these companies was "proof of their belief in the country’s potential." He also mentioned several other foreign businessmen who recently invested in the Philippines to prove his point: Hongkong’s Li Ka-shing, owner of conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, who ventured in a call center facility in Manila, and China’s Xu Rongmao, who went to a property development venture in the country.

His observation is corroborated by the findings of Grant Thornton Business International that listed the Philippines as the eighth of 32 countries that global business conglomerates wanted to invest in. "The entry of foreign capital only proves that President Arroyo has created an environment most conducive to foreign investments," he said. " "Their investments are a big vote of confidence in the Philippines."

Pichay said this positive development would boost the poll chances of Team Unity because voters had come to realize the primacy of having a Congress that is a strategic partner of President Arroyo in accelerating the growth momentum and delivering social payback to the masa.

CVMR® is investing $3 billion in a nickel refinery project with Philnico Industrial Corp., which owns the 3,757-hectare mining area covering three towns in Eastern Samar, if its two-year exploration would point to project’s viability.

Pichay attributed the entry of foreign investments in the country’s mining sector not only to the reforms the administration put in place but also to the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, which President Arroyo also pushed while she was a senator and head of the Senate committee on economic affairs. The Supreme Court has declared thrice the mining law constitutional.

Pichay described the foreign investors as "hardnosed businessmen who are not swayed by opposition propaganda but who look at a country’s economic fundamentals before committing some serious money. They are investing not because of but despite the opposition’s propaganda."

Pichay added: "The numbers can’t lie and the testimonials of investors can’t be exaggerated. In the biofuels industry alone we are already counting more than P20 billion in investments coming from various nationalities."

Pichay said these investments were not "portfolio investments" but "sunk-in-the-ground types" which would create jobs for the people and revenues for local governments.

Pichay expressed optimism that as more foreign capital came into the country, more Filipino families would benefit from the new jobs and small businesses that these new investments would spawn.

Team Unity’s campaign platform seeks to achieve a much faster economic growth for the country "a 7% growth rate this year and another 8% growth rate in 2008 " that President Arroyo has spelled out in her " by 08' economic agenda. It is also pushing a package of various infrastructure and socio-economic projects laid down in the president’s Social Payback Program, which aims to spread fast the fruits of the country’s three consecutive years of economic growth.