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Duterte assures SoKor businessmen's safety in PH

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday assured South Korean businessmen that they will be “safe and sound” while in the Philippines.

Duterte made this commitment during a business forum in Seoul, South Korea where an estimated USD4.8 billion worth of business deals were signed.

"I cannot compromise the greater public interest and for those of you who come to the Philippines, with our --- coming with our guarantee that you’ll be safe and sound. Give me time,” Duterte said in his speech.

The President acknowledged that there are “a lot of misgivings” about the law and order situation in the Philippines.

“I must admit there were some incidents in the past that did not augur well for people to even consider Philippines as an investment area. Like just any other country, we’re facing numerous law and order problem including my own national police,” Duterte said.

Duterte might have been referring to the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo inside the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in 2016 which took place amid the aggressive crackdown on illegal drugs.

The killing of the South Korean businessman prompted Duterte to temporarily suspend its anti-drug operations and punish cops involved in the incident.

“Maybe towards the end of the year. I should have reorganized the Philippine National Police. And I will go to the extreme if I have to,” Duterte said.

“You might be hearing about hard stance. But this is just really for the bad guys. If you are a law-abiding citizen of a country who wants to be more rich and you are handsome, you will be protected. I will see to that,” he added.

The South Korean government earlier gave the Philippines a USD6.6 million grant to enhance the capabilities of the PNP which includes supply of vehicles and training of police personnel.

“I will assure you that your efforts to help us and even donating several motor vehicles to augment the use of mobility in my country will be put to good use,” Duterte said.

He also thanked the South Korean government for entering into agreements with the Philippines, noting that the host country is one of its major sources of foreign investments.

“[With] the signing of new business agreements, it is my hope that these will be realized as actual investments and maximized to their full extent,” Duterte said.

“With the Philippines’ sound macroeconomic fundamentals, we remain confident that investments and new businesses will thrive when they enter the market,” he added.

Azer Parrocha / PNA