Senate President Franklin M. Drilon pushed for the expansion of bilateral investment and trade relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Turkey.
Drilon, who visited Turkey upon the invitation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT), met with Speaker Cemil Çiçek and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç “to discuss ways of strengthening the diplomatic relations and partnerships between the two countries.”
“I am glad to have had the chance to promote the country to the government of Turkey. Fortunately, we have succeeded in convincing them that investment is ‘more fun in the Philippines,’” Drilon said. He added that there are lot opportunities for trade and investment the two countries can explore.
Drilon said that he is confident that his visit to Turkey, together with Senate committee on Economic Affairs Chairman Joseph Victor Ejercito, will translate into more investment opportunities for the country in the near future. Their official visit coincided with the 65th year of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Philippines and Turkey.
“There is a mutual understanding between the two countries for the need to improve their relationship, particularly on areas of trade and tourism, where both nations are seen to equally benefit,” Drilon added.
Drilon said they have agreed on the importance of activating the Philippines-Turkey Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in order to continuously monitor, review, and promote the bilateral activities between the two countries. Thus, Drilon urged the Department of Trade and Industry to coordinate with its counterpart in Turkey to schedule immediately the inaugural meeting of the JEC.
Drilon cited the country’s booming tourism and leisure industries, particularly its resorts and beaches, as the area in which Turkish people have expressed great interest.
Turkey, on the other hand, is promoting its religious, cultural, and historical sites, he noted.
He said that the $250-million investment from Turkey can be further increased.
“We are confident that in the next few years, we will see an enhanced trade activity between the two countries. The Philippines has a lot to offer to Turkey, particularly in terms of educated and skilled work force,” Drilon said.
He added: “Turkey is a significant partner if we want to increase our foreign direct investments and expand job opportunities for our countrymen.”
The Senate leader said that trade relations between the two countries can be promoted with the recent establishment of direct flights from and to Istanbul thrice a week.
The Senate leader also thanked the Turkish government for its contribution to the peace process in Mindanao, as well as for the valuable assistance it readily extended to the country during the Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Drilon also expressed support for the upcoming trade mission of Turkish businessmen to the Philippines in October 2015, being organized by Philippine Ambassador to Turkey, Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez.
Lastly, the Senate leader has also designated Ejercito as the president of the Philippines-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group in order to continue the relations that both parliaments have promoted during this trip.