U.S. firms push new business deals vital to U.S. security

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AMERICAN firms are now pushing for new cooperation and investment deals with the Philippines on sectors deemed crucial for United States (US) national security.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said members of the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) made the disclosure during their meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Malacañang last Monday.

The 10-member US-based business group said they are interested in signing new agreements related to health, digital infrastructure and energy programs.

They also lauded the President for “restoring the special and important alliance between the governments of the Philippines and the US.”

Marcos discussed how the government is addressing the problems in the priority sectors of BENs, which include the country’s lack of Filipino health care workers (HCW) as they remain in demand in many countries, including the US.

Among the initiatives to address the workforce shortage, he said, is a proposed arrangement wherein countries must train a sufficient number of replacements for Filipinos HCWs, who they will hire, as well as accelerating the board examinations of nurses.

The chief executive also talked about the government’s efforts to fix energy issues through improved distribution mechanisms, and the mainstreaming of digitalization of government transactions to improve ease of doing business.

He also pointed out the country is engaged in retraining and re-skilling its workforce so they will meet the changing demands in the labor market.

“We need to catch up in terms of training, in terms of getting involved in the new technologies that we are seeing for many, many reasons: for the digitalization, for the climate change, for the cybersecurity,” Marcos said.

Among the BENS members who participated in the Malacañang meeting were GardaWorld Federal Services President Pete Dordal; WinFertility President & CEO Roger Shedlin; Cavalry Asset Management Managing Partner & CIO John K. Hurley; Arnold & Porter LLP Senior Partner Ramon Marks; and Pescador Resources President David C. McDonald.

Also at the meeting were SPG International President & CEO Steve Darnell; Crisis Response Company LLC President & CEO Robert Akin; Shield Capital Co-Founder & Managing Partner Raj Shah; BENS President & CEO Ret. Gen. Joseph Votel; and BENS Vice President of Programs Patrick Sweeney.

They will be in the country until Thursday to “engage with Philippine leaders at the nexus of business and national security and discuss potential areas for investment and cooperation in the country.”