Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, Philippine Permanent Representative to ASEAN and concurrent Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (6th from right) and Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez at the Opening Ceremony of the 5th ASEAN Connectivity Forum, 29 November 2017, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Seoul.
Dignitaries at the Forum included the Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kim Hyun-Mee, Indonesian Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro, Korean Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Hyun, ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Kim Young-Sun and Executive Vice-President Kim Hyun-mee of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). Ambassadors from ASEAN member countries, including Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez were in attendance at the Forum.
Pursuant to the theme of the Philippines' Chairmanship of ASEAN focusing on "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World", Philippine Permanent Representative to ASEAN Elizabeth Buensuceso, who is concurrently the Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), delivered a keynote speech during the Forum highlighting that "ASEAN is an economic dynamo ready to engage the world through the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025." In her remarks, Ambassador Buensuceso highlighted ASEAN as an economic powerhouse and as a highly attractive region for foreign investments.
During Session 2 of the Forum focusing on Sector-Specific Connectivity Related Infrastructure Projects in ASEAN, Atty. Ruth Castelo, Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), delivered a well-received presentation in front of a packed audience composed of representatives from the commerce and industry sectors, highlighting the Philippines' attractiveness as a destination for foreign investors seeking to explore business opportunities in the Philippines' booming infrastructure sector. In her presentation, Undersecretary Castelo underscored that the "Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, a prime destination in ASEAN powered by strategic investment flows and a strategic gateway to ASEAN and ASEAN+6 markets." Undersecretary Castelo further emphasized that the Philippine economy is experiencing robust economic growth and a "Golden Age of Infrastructure" under the helm of President Rodrigo Duterte. Pursuant to "Dutertenomics", President Duterte's 10 Point Socio-Economic Agenda, the Philippine is intensifying its "Build, Build, Build" drive by ramping up infrastructure spending, opening up more opportunities in infrastructure development to foreign investors and allowing to a certain extent foreign equity participation in government and private projects.
Atty. Florinda Inoturan of the Philippine Public Private Partnership Center, also delivered a presentation at the Forum highlighting the success of the Philippine' Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program as well as PPP infrastructure projects open to interested foreign investors.