Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he would allow multinational companies to lease some of the country’s islands if elected as President.
In an interview with DZRJ,Duterte said business islands should be established to entice multinational companies to invest here.
“If we can lease our land for military bases, why not lease an island… to create our own version of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore? The jobs will come here. Going abroad must be a choice, not a necessity,” he said.
“We have over 7,000 islands. Let’s lease one island or islands to them and let them create their own police force, rules, ports, roads, power plants, steel mills, petro chemical plants, their own offices and telecoms and wireless Internet connections, subject to their own rules,” he added.
Duterte added that it is the country’s chance to catch the wave” as the cost of labor in China is increasing.
“Multinationals have gone to Vietnam. War-torn until recently, Vietnam has overtaken us and is launching two integrated steel mills in 2016 and 2017 with an output of four million tons,” he said.
Creating business islands patterned after Singapore and Hong Kong would be the best solution to the unemployment rate in the country,he said.
However,Duterte clarified that the government would still have jurisdiction over the islands to preserve the country’s territorial integrity.
He pointed that multinationals should agree that the ownership of their factories and infrastructure would revert to the Philippines after 50 years.
“From the 51st year to the 99th year, they will pay rental for those buildings and infrastructure from the Philippines, thereby creating the country’s income,” he said.
Duterte also said there is no need for the Philippines to acquire foreign loans since multinationals would become the financier of the country’s development.
He also said that he would invite United Nations officials to witness the agreement on the lease of the islands to ensure the continuity of the project.