President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday met some of the country’s tycoons over dinner in Malacañang in a bid to address “uncertainties” troubling them, his spokesman said yesterday.


The meeting comes in the wake of mounting reports of increased investor worries caused by political noise generated by his tough talk against the West and his administration’s apparent preoccupation with countering a nascent opposition.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said Mr. Duterte’s three-hour meeting with big businessmen involved an “open discussion” on topics such as shift to a federal government, contractualization, job creation and tax reform.

“The president reiterated that he is for job creation to uplift the people’s well-being,” Mr. Abella said, adding that the meeting was called to “bring them on board the government’s agenda of inclusive growth.”

Quoting Presidential Adviser (PA) for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” A. Concepcion III, who facilitated the dinner meeting, Mr. Abella also claimed the tycoons “walked out extremely happy.”

“As far as PA Joey was saying, their preconceptions regarding the President were settled because of their one-on-one, face-to-face conversation. Many of them apparently had never met the President. This is the first time they had face-to-face and according to PA Joey, a number of their uncertainties were settled,” the spokesman said.

“Mainly, they were there to show their support for improvement of areas on poverty and crisis and the conflicts,” he also said.

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