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The Philippines Is Not a Friendly Place To Do Business In

n the surface, the Philippines can seem like an enjoyable and friendly place to do business. But scratch the surface and you’ll find yourself in a strange and alien world where a whole new set of rules and attitudes apply. (con't below)NAIA Terminal 3

Just recently, the Fraser Institute, a well-known North American think-tank, ranked the Philippines third from the bottom, on its annual survey of the best places to do business for mining companies. The country is missing out on multi-billion dollar foreign investments—not to mention the thousands of jobs new businesses can provide—simply because foreign companies see the Philippines as unreliable. Rules can change mid-stream, and local jurisdictions can impose ever increasing requirements. The country already suffers from a history of failed business projects where foreign investors were left “holding the bag.” A prime example is the construction of NAIA Terminal 3 where German airport services firm Frapport AG found itself entangled in a web of government agencies, bureaucrats, the courts, and the previous Gloria Arroyo administration. Unfortunately for Frapport AG, a simple straightforward airport project turned into a nightmare. Sadly Fraport AG’s experience is in no way an isolated case. These things happen all the time in the Philippines where there is no requirement for full disclosure and all parties to a deal—no matter how minor—usually have another secret deal going on the side.

Although the Philippines has recently improved its overall credit rating, that improvement has not translated into a significant boost in foreign direct investments to the country. In fact Indonesia continues to receive four times as much foreign investment even if it now rates lower than the Philippines. Why? As we point out above, the reason is the Philippines has, over the years, built a reputation of inconsistencySenators Juan Ponce Enrile (top), Ramon "Bong" Revilla (center), Jinggoy Estrada (bottom) and unreliability, in addition to widespread corruption, a poorly educated populace, inadequate infrastructure, and a hopelessly ineffective judiciary.

From large multinational corporations to mom-and-pop businesses started by balikbayans, many entrepreneurs who set up shop here in the Philippines, have since left in frustration. Many point to the almost whimsical attitude of local officials who seem to delight in giving businesses a difficult time simply to prove to everyone that they can. When business owners realize that the odds are stacked against them despite their best efforts, they close shop and move elsewhere. And in today’s world of global connectivity, that could be anywhere else outside the Philippines.

The recent pork-barrel scandal that is currently all over the news also highlights just how widespread and far-reaching corruption is in the country. Sitting senators who took an oath to serve the people are now accused of serving only themselves to the tune of tens of millions of pesos. They are now fighting tooth-and-nail to exonerate themselves. And why shouldn’t they, others before them stole much more yet never spent a day in jail.

It may seem counterintuitive to some but Philippine courts have a lot to do with improving the business climate of the country. Government officials can offer all kinds of business incentives and talk till they’re blue in the face. But unless the Philippines has a properly functioning judiciary, reputable foreign businesses will have to think long and hard before they ever invest or set up shop here. Published 03/10/2014


Philnews.com reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

Comments from Our  Readers
(Topic: Will Pacman be China’s Pitchman?)

Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA County, CA USA
IP Address: 98.112.130.24

Comments

Re: Wilner & Oreilly Immigration Lawyers in Los Angeles. describes Manny Pacquiao as a successful immigrant one of their celebrity clients . Now if Pacquaio is an immigrant then he lied in his documents in the comelec..a green card holder can't run for Congress and for that matter any Phil Public Office. Pacquaio should clarify this now considering that he is also a Chinese "consultant" in Boxing.


Name: Manuel C. Diaz
City/State/Country: Montclair CA USA
IP Address: 76.90.62.96

Comments

How long do you think that Pacman can market his talent in boxing? He is just maximizing the marketability of his talents. If China pays Pacman for his talent fee why should you begrudge him!


Name: Manila
City/State/Country: CA USA
IP Address: 108.23.46.11

Comments

The lifestyle of Filipinos are now more aggressive, and thinking you won of something you are good enough to run for higher position in the Philippine Government. Sa hirap na mga kabuhayan, most of them have no jobs, they will do everything to vote for someone like Pacquiao in order to survive for one day? Walang hiya at makapal ang mukha ni Pacquiao to enter politics. He uses his money thinking people will care for him. Ang pera nga naman maraming puwede gawin sa isang tao? Look at his mother, very religious person, but the minute Pacquiao lost with Mexican boxer, she lost her temper and started saying bad words. All they want is to win all the time. I do not wish bad for him or his family but he should leave politics alone and be thankful for what he has now.


Philippine NewsLink reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

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