Source: The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The European business community has two special wishes for President Duterte this New Year: that he address concerns on alleged extrajudicial killings and end his verbal assaults on the country’s international allies.
European business leaders warned that the killings and verbal tirades could dampen investor confidence in the Philippines.
“We have seen uncertainty caused by statements done in the first couple of months since the new administration came in. European business has been here a long time and is still here for the long term. European companies are partners and are providing much needed jobs and foreign direct investments, hence helping the government to contribute to the overarching goal of inclusive growth in the country,” said Guenter Taus, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president.
“Business can work with risks, but not with uncertainty. That’s why we are working closely with (department) secretaries to get their reassurance that the government, from its end, will be a stable and reliant partner for our European investors,” Taus told The STAR.
Aside from Duterte’s tirades on long-time allies the European Union and the US, the rising cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in the country are also alarming the European business community.
“Unfortunately, the focal point both domestically and internationally has been the infamous war on drugs and the tragic loss of life it has created. The picture of the Philippines painted by international headlines, while arguably not completely correct, has not in any way been beneficial to the Philippines,” Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Bo Lundqvist said.
He added that the negative headlines generated abroad have created an atmosphere of hesitation in terms of foreign direct investments.
“While I am in complete agreement with the new administration as it relates to the dangers of drugs to individuals and society as a whole, I believe human rights and respect for due process are hallmarks of any successful democracy and is a key component to what potential investors look for in terms of destination attractiveness,” Lundqvist said.
Outside the political concerns, the European business community also wants to see the government pursue the liberalization of economic restrictions and tax reform, revise its Public Services Act, retain investment incentives, implement the Competition Act and come up with legislation on energy efficiency.