MADRID, JUNE 30, 2006
(STAR) (via PLDT) ó The Philippines will get some 350 million euros in fresh investments from Spanish businesses as a result of the visit of President Arroyo here while other deals remain in the pipeline.

Trade Secretary Peter Favila said Filipino businessmen and their counterparts were still finalizing other agreements for possible investments in the country.

He said Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, one of Spainís top banks, will offer a 200-million euro credit line facility to Burgundy Global Exploration Corp. in Palawan.

Others include the development of Port Irene in Cagayan (50 million euros), hotels and resorts (50 million euros) and projects to facilitate growth and commerce (50 million euros).

"There are still ongoing talks between the Philippine and Spanish businessmen," he said.

Favila said Spanish investors in the Philippines would also meet with Mrs. Arroyo here such as the cement producer Semex and Soluciones, an electricity company with a stake in giant power retailer Manila Electric Co.

Favila said other businessmen were also interested in infrastructure projects such as railways, sea ports and others.

He added various areas of investments were discussed such as information technology, mining, defense system and technology, waste management, water treatment, tourism and even traffic systems.

Two large hotel chains in Spain, Favila said, would also meet with Mrs. Arroyo to determine whether they would push through with their investments in the Philippines to be able to establish a greater presence in Asia.

These are the Occidental and Ramada groups of hotels.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said they would offer Subic, Palawan, Boracay, Bohol and other provinces with great beaches to these prospective investors.

Durano said he had also met with Qatar airlines and the six largest tour operators here to be able to implement tourism promotion and attract more scuba divers to the Philippines.

He said it would be important to have a target market so its government would get a quick return on its investments in tourism promotion.

Durano noted only 8,000 Spanish tourists came to the Philippines last year but this could increase if diving sites and other beaches in the country were introduced to them properly.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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