President Rodrigo Duterte’s constant but thoughtless diatribes against notable foreign institutions are producing undesirable results. The chief executive is now reaping what he has sowed.
Two European companies have just canceled their separate plans to invest and expand operations in the Philippines amid the policy uncertainty caused by President Duterte’s tirades against the European Union. The two foreign investors, according to European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines executive director Florian Gottein, were among the European companies now looking elsewhere to build their projects.
One is looking at Vietnam as its new site for expansion, after scuttling a plan to double its current investments here. The second has put its planned investment on hold.
It would not be a surprise if more potential foreign investors follow the decision of the two European companies. Gottein noted that the series of statements of President Duterte directed against the EU had affected the business plans of European companies. Duterte earlier cursed at the EU, along with the US and the United Nations, for criticizing his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
The Philippines again missed another opportunity to create more job opportunities after the pullout of the two undisclosed companies. The two would have generated 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs in the information technology and manufacturing sectors.
Developing countries like the Philippines need every foreign capital and technology they can attract because local capital resources are not enough. Foreign businessmen or investors should be wooed and welcomed, instead of being pilloried. The European Union, comprising of 28 member-states, account for 22 percent of the global nominal gross domestic product in 2016. It is an economic powerhouse that should not be sneered at. The economic bloc was the largest source of foreign direct investment in Southeast Asia with 23.3 billion euros in 2015, or more than double from the level in 2014.
The Philippine economic team should get its act together if it wants to attract foreign investments and reduce the country’s unemployment rate. For starters, it should warn President Duterte about the implications of his incessant outbursts. He is the country’s worst salesman.