Russians interested in PH

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


AFTER a successful nine-day business trip to Russia, the Philippine delegation reported Russian businesses are showing interest in investing in the Philippines.

Geronimo Sta. Ana, Philippine-Russia Business Assembly (PRBA) treasurer, said Russians have shown interests in waste-to-energy projects, banks via conduits, infrastructure, medical software technology, tourism and private-public partnerships (PPP).

“Russian are looking at the Philippines as an investment area and place for possible trade. In fact, they showcased some products that they can possibly trade to the Philippines and to the Asean region,” Russian Federation Honorary Consul Armi Garcia said in a press conference yesterday.

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She said the Philippines is best positioned for Russian investments, given its strategic location in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region and its workforce advantage.

Trade mission

The PRBA counterpart in Russia, the Russian-Philippine Business Council, held a trade mission in Moscow and St. Petersburg from June 14 to 22. The 16-member Filipino delegation was composed of businessmen from Manila and Cebu.

The Philippine delegation got to speak at the forum about the Philippine economic situation and areas of investment. The group also got to experience the culture and sights of Russia, with trips to landmarks, churches and museums.

Sta. Ana also pointed out the huge interest of Russians on retirement villages. “They are looking at places where they can retire. They consider Philippines as an ideal destination because of its tropical climate, natural scenery and hospitable people,” he said.

Although Cebu doesn’t have a retirement village with complete amenities yet, Sta. Ana, who is also Board of Investment (BOI) governor, said this is an opportunity for local property developers.

“The village should have complete integrated activity with health, recreational and even a small hospital or wellness center that can take care of the needs of retirees,” said Sta. Ana.

By the sea

“What Russian like is a retirement village by the sea,” added Garcia.

She said tourism and culture are the gateway to trade and future investments.

“We just need to walk them through our laws and incentives,” said Sta. Ana.

On top of selling island destinations in the Philippines such as Cebu, Bohol and Boracay, Garcia is also pushing for Dipolog City as a retirement destination because it has a “good blend” of nature, history and sea food.

She said she is arranging a sisterhood partnership between Parnas, St. Petersburg and Dipolog City.

Aside from promoting tourism, Garcia is also pushing for manufacturing investments.

She said her office has been getting inquiries from Russian investors with factories in China who are interested in factory sites in the country.

Russian investors are expected to visit Cebu a trade mission in the third or fourth quarter this year. Garcia said Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III also has a standing invitation to visit St. Petersburg.

“There are now talks on the establishment of a roadmap to implement the sisterhood agreement signed by St. Petersburg and Cebu province during then-governor Gwen Garcia,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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