EU businesspeople see no reason to leave Philippines

19-Oct-2017 Intellasia | Phil Star | 6:00 AM Print This Post

European investors in the Philippines said there is no reason for them to pack up and leave amid President Duterte’s continued tirades directed against the European Union (EU).

“We are business as usual. Nothing has changed and we intend to keep it that way. We all have rocky roads sometimes. We have ups and down but we weather it. No reason for us to leave the country or think investments are not happening,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) president Guenter Taus said.

He said ECCP members have heard it all before and Duterte’s recent remarks have not had much effect on businesses on the ground.

“We are getting immune to certain things. We know rhetoric is rhetoric,” he said.

“We in business do not mingle in politics, that is for politicians to do. We see to it that business gets addressed and addressed adequately. It is, of course, difficult to maneuver in a scenario like this but it has not stopped investments (from) coming in and it will definitely not stop right there,” Taus added.

The President said if necessary, he is willing to cut ties with trading partners interfering with the country’s domestic affairs.

“The President has made it clear, no interference. You know the position of the President and that is the position of the government. I am not going to change that. What we’re just emphasising is the importance of mutual respect for sovereignty,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on the sidelines of the EU-Philippines Business Summit yesterday.

“If there is a clear interference from any group…he (Duterte) has mentioned that even trade, he is willing to sacrifice. If and when that happens, obviously it will affect us. But hopefully it does not happen. Hopefully that interference will not happen,” the trade chief added.

In line with the continuing criticisms by international groups against the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and unsolicited remarks that interfere with the country’s domestic affairs, Lopez cautioned countries and groups who would meddle with the Philippines’ policies to expect a “strong reaction” from the government.

Recently, members of the Progressive Alliance and Party of European Socialistsa mission not sanctioned by the EUcriticised the administration’s war on drugs due to thousands of extra-judicial killings.

“Thus any interference is viewed as preventing us from doing our job. Any interference in the pursuit of this programme will never sit well with any of us in the government, especially with our passionate President. We all can expect a strong reaction against any form of interference,” Lopez added.

He said the Philippines has a strong cultural tradition of preserving the rule of law and protecting human rights and none of that has changed in the current administration.


Category: Philippines

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