Duterte Wants Arabs to Develop Philippine Cities

Manila, Philippines, 21 Safar 1438/21 November 2016 (MINA) – The Duterte administration is offering to lease several Philippine islands to the royal families in the Middle East to turn these landmasses into modern cities.

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) director general Charito Plaza said over the weekend that the agency has met with the royals of Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to propound the proposal, Philstar repoted.

Plaza said the Duterte government wants to cash in on the wealth of these families by offering to them unproductive lands and even some of the country’s more than 7,000 islands for development.

“I was with the President when he went to the Middle East to Qatar, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to observe the Dubai Freeport Zone and how they become competitive. I had the opportunity to talk to the members of the royal families in Qatar and Dubai. Most of the sheikhs are into real estate business. They signified to us that they will be coming over to invest thru PEZA and we offered to them our islands,” Plaza said.

“As our program with President Duterte, he wants all these islands be converted into cities. He’s been looking for investors to build cities in our islands as he wants all lands and islands to be utilized so I triggered the imagination of the royal families of Qatar and Dubai to have these islands leased by them and I suggested we create a Dubai in the Philippines and build the landmarks of Doha and Qatar, and make it as a tourist destination,” she added.

Plaza said the royals were amenable to her proposal and they are set to visit the country this week to do the first exploration of how their Philippine investments are going to turn out.

According to the PEZA chief, the Middle East is one big market the Philippines failed to tap in the past.

“They are awash with cash and they’re exactly looking for areas to invest. So the Middle East market is our focus now and it’s very timely because of the independent foreign policy of the President. As we know before, our mindset is we only deal with democratic countries and non-Muslim countries. We failed to realize this is where the money is,” said Plaza, who also hails from Mindanao like Duterte. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)