MANILA — U.S. manufacturing giant Procter & Gamble is pumping more investments into the Philippines in a bid to make the country a manufacturing and service hub for Asia.

Alan G. Lafley chairman president and chief executive officer of P&G announced additional investments of $27.2 million during the company’s 70th anniversary celebration on May 5 at the Westin Philippine Plaza in Pasay City Metro Manila.

In his speech during the anniversary dinner at the Westin he called the Philippine operations “one of our crown jewels in Asia.” He said that the Philippine operations “represent nearly a third of our total sales and volume in the region and is a catalyst for growth throughout the region — and increasingly in other parts of the world as well.”

“We intend to make the Philippines a major manufacturing and service hub for the Asia region. We’ll be investing roughly 1.5 billion pesos [$27.2 million] over the next three years to strengthen capability and build additional capacity ” Lafley said.

Executives in Manila said this would mean P&G Philippines would be exporting the company’s toilet soaps dishwashing liquid sanitary napkins diapers and detergent products to other countries in Asia. They declined to say how much production capacity would be added with the new investment.

The additional investment also covers the beefing up of services “in areas like accounting and business information to more P&G operations in other parts of the world ” executives said.

Dickerson & Quinn Ltd. represents Procter and Gamble in Guam the Northern Mariana Islands Palau the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. The company imports the full range of P&G lines to Micronesia. Timothy T. Kernaghan vice president and general manager of Dickerson & Quinn in Guam told the Journal “We are managed through the Singapore office and we import all of our lines through the U.S. distribution centers.” He said stringent federal packaging and labeling laws precluded the importation to Guam of the same brands from P&G Asian manufacturing sources. Kernaghan said however that D&Q was looking at bringing Philippines-distributed Procter & Gamble lines to the other islands of Micronesia.

The operations of its Manila Service Center will be expanded by providing accounting and financial services workplace services employee services and information technology services to P&G operations in Eastern Europe the Middle East and Africa.

“ This too is an important driver of P&G growth. The men and women at the Manila Service Center are ensuring that P&G businesses get best-in-class service leading-edge innovation and industry-best costs. And of course all this enables us to provide consumers with the highest quality and the best value every day ” Lafley said.

The P&G official expressed the company’s long-term commitment to the Philippines and making the country “a growing exporter of products and services.”

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo led guests at the ceremonial switching-on of a “picture model” of P&G’s plant in Cabuyao Laguna (south of Manila) symbolizing the company’s investment pledge.

Along with Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Juan B. Santos Arroyo also honored P&G with the Order of the Pearl of the Orient award “in recognition of its invaluable contribution to the country and its sustained confidence in and commitment to the Filipino worker.”

To mark its 70th year in the Philippines the company also donated 70 houses to Gawad Kalinga (“To give care”) an organization supporting the Philippine government’s housing program for the poor. The houses will be built in Cabuyao Laguna where P&G’s plant is located. Earlier this year P&G donated 48 housing units in the Baseco Compound in Tondo one of the poorest districts in Manila.

“P&G Philippines has set the highest standards and consistently raises the bar in corporate governance making it win the respect of the government the academe trade and industry and even its competitors ” said Bob McDonald vice chairman of P&G.

Besides Gawad Kalinga the company has forged partnerships with the United Nations’ Children’s Emergency Fund Department of Health Department of Education Philippine National Red Cross Habitat for Humanity key universities and other civic organizations.

P&G is the world’s leading manufacturer of household health beauty infant and pet products with 300 well-known brands including Head & Shoulders shampoo Tide and Mr. Clean detergents Crest toothpaste Always sanitary napkins Pampers diapers Safeguard and Camay soaps Vick’s cough drops IAMS pet food Lacoste perfumes Old Spice deodorants and aftershaves Folgers coffee and Pringles potato chips. MBJ