I leave today for Kuala Lumpur to serve as keynote speaker at the Philippines-Malaysia Investment Partnership Forum on May 29. From Kuala Lumpur, I shall proceed to the United States to attend the 5th Global Housing Finance Forum in Washington D.C. on May 31, and attend several activities organized by the Filipino Community.

                  In Kuala Lumpur, we expect around 200 business leaders and investors from the Philippines and Malaysia to come together to exchange ideas on how to further enhance the already dynamic economic partnership between our two countries.

                  Malaysia is the Philippines’ 9th largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to almost $3.8 billion. Meanwhile, our country is Malaysia’s 11th largest export market, valued at $1.4 billion; and the 8th largest import market valued at $2.4 billion. The Investment Partnership Forum is expected to further boost the strong economic ties between the Philippines and Malaysia.

                  During the forum, the Philippine delegation will highlight investment opportunities in tourism infrastructure, energy and electricity, Islamic banking and finance, processed food, including halal food, information technology, business process outsourcing and other services, electronics, and automotive parts and components. Mindanao will be actively promoted as an investment destination, proof of the government’s determination to bring more investments, stimulate economic growth, and generate more jobs in the South. I am confident that our delegation will be able to capture the interest of the Malaysian business community.

                  While in Kuala Lumpur, I will also meet with top Malaysian government officials including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Minister of International Trade and Industry YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Bin Mohamed, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman as well as former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

                  I shall also meet with ranking officials of the Berjaya Corporation and the Malaysia–Philippines Business Council. Our Ambassador has asked me to grace the inauguration of the newly renovated Philippine Embassy, an invitation which I wholeheartedly accepted. And in keeping with my role as the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, I will hold a dialog with the Filipino Community in Malaysia to check their living and working conditions, and find out from them how government could further extend assistance to them and to their families in the Philippines.

                  From Kuala Lumpur, I will proceed to Washington D.C. to speak at the closing of the 5th  Global Housing Finance Forum at the World Bank Headquarters. I will also meet with World Bank Executive Director Rogerio Studart.

                  As chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, I am keen to share our own experiences and how we are addressing the concerns of the housing sector, primarily the demand for decent, affordable and climate-resilient housing for the working Filipinos. I also look forward to learning more from the forum so we may be able to improve our housing finance system here in the country.

                  I also look forward to my meeting with Ambassador. Luis C. de Baca of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, State Department, to update him about our accomplishments in the campaign against human trafficking. I am very confident that the State Department will recognize our sincere and concrete initiatives in this area.

                  While in Washington, I will hold a dialog with our kababayans, and from there proceed to California to take part in the celebration of the 114th anniversary of Philippine Independence.

                  Please pray for the success of my missions. Thank you.