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17/02/2016: BUSINESS MEETINGS KICK OFF PRES AQUINO’S WORKING VISIT TO LOS ANGELES, FILIPINO WORKERS EXTOLLED

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-008-2016
17 February 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA – President Benigno S. Aquino III kicked off his working visit to Los Angeles with back-to-back meetings with executives from Walt Disney International, Western Digital Corporation, and AECOM on Tuesday, 16 February 2016.

In his meeting with Mr. Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney International, President Aquino underscored developments in the Philippine policy environment that pertains to the growth of the country’s creative industries. Disney, one of the world’s biggest mass media and entertainment conglomerates and most recognizable brands, has been looking to further invest in and maximize opportunities in emerging markets in recent years.

Meanwhile, Western Digital Corporation, a global provider of solutions for the collection, storage, management, protection and use of digital content, has already established a presence in the Philippines, providing jobs to around 10,500 individuals and working with approximately 400 local suppliers. President Aquino explored the possibility of expanding Western Digital’s business in the Philippines by increasing manufacturing lines and setting up a shared services facility. He briefed Mr. Stephen Milligan, the company’s CEO, on the growth of the manufacturing and IT-BPM sectors, stressing that the Philippines remains a leading destination for offshore investments due to its scalable and trainable talent pool, cost competitiveness, and government support.

In his meeting with AECOM Group President Michael Donnelly, the President discussed the Government’s commitment to upgrading the country’s infrastructure, as evidenced by the increased approved budget for infrastructure development to 5% of GDP in 2016. AECOM previously provided engineering, procurement and management services for the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan and designed the North Luzon Expressway and the passenger terminal of the Mactan International Airport in Cebu. In February last year, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority announced that AECOM won the open competition for the best optimized design of Clark Green City’s Conceptual Master Development Plan.

The executives all praised their Filipino employees for their competence, talent and work ethic. Mr. Bird cited the Filipinos’ creativity and said that Disney would welcome more Filipino talent, particularly in the field of Animation. Similarly, Mr. Milligan assured President Aquino that the Philippines remains high on Western Digital’s list when it comes to expansion plans, mainly because of their satisfaction with and continued confidence in the capabilities of their Filipino workers. Mr. Hugh Doyle, Global Emerging Markets Leader of AECOM, likewise said that his company has had very good experience with their Filipino workers, most of whom are engineers. AECOM, Los Angeles’ largest employer, has around 130 Filipino employees working in the Philippines and approximately 1,200 deployed across the globe.

Accompanying the President in the business meetings were Secretary of Finance Cesar V. Purisima, Secretary of Trade and Industry Adrian T. Cristobal, Secretary of Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin, Secretary of the Cabinet Jose Rene D. Almendras, National Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra, Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office Herminio B. Coloma, Jr., Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim, and Secretary Julia Abad of the Presidential Management Staff.

“Much of the economic resurgence that the Philippines is experiencing today is attributable to the President’s active economic diplomacy. We have made remarkable strides in terms of restoring investor confidence and the challenge to us now is in sustaining this momentum and building on the gains we have achieved. We continue to consider US businesses as key partners in this endeavor,” Ambassador Cuisia said. ###