By Roy Mabasa
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De La Peña on Friday urged Indian businessmen and captains of industries to consider the Philippines for possible areas of cooperation and investments particularly in the transfer of technology, mass transportation, and drug manufacturing sectors.
Speaking at the opening session of the Philippine-India Trade Consultations in Makati City, De La Peña said there were many ways wherein the Philippines and India can collaborate, citing India’s advantage in the tech transfer.
“First of all, we are still in the learning process in the area of technology transfer because this is one of the areas where we need improvement. We have seen these in many research projects and yet the utilization is low,” he said.
The two-day event coincides with the State Visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind who is being accompanied by a large business delegation seeking potential investments and cooperation with their counterparts in the Philippines.
During the interaction with members of the Indian delegation following his remarks, De La Peña underscored the need to initially determine if there are already relevant agreements signed by the two countries in the past that could hasten any possible cooperation.
“We have an international cooperation program. First, we have to check whatever agreements have been made in the past because we would like to revive if there’s any, or establish one if there’s none yet,” he said.
Aside from De La Peña, the other cabinet officials who made their respective pitches before the visiting Indian business delegation were Health Undersecretary and Food and Drugs Administration Officer-in-Charge Rolando Domingo and Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
The cabinet officials were joined by members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) of both the Philippines and India.
They were joined by FICCI Philippines President Rex Daryanani and Vivel Singhal, CEO of GMR Construction of India.
In his speech, Health Undersecretary Domingo invited Indian businessmen to invest in the Philippines, particularly in the manufacturing of medicines.
“The President himself did say that he was interested in bringing in not only products but also manufacturing. So, I would like to invite all of the manufacturers who are here, the board of investments is really going to help, they have identified pharma zones which can be developed in the future,” said Domingo.
“Most drugs in the Philippines are imported, all active ingredients of all drugs in the Philippines are imported, we do not manufacture… So this is one really potential business that can be got into as a partnership between Filipinos and Indian businessmen,” he said.
Domingo said that the Philippines aims to have a sustainable pharmaceutical industry, adding that India is already competent in that aspect. (With a report from Analou de Vera)