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.
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 inconsistency 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.
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Our Readers (Topic: Napoles Prays 2,000 Rosaries a Day, So Does She Get a Free Pass to Heaven?)
Name: JRH City/State/Country: Montreal, Quebec IP
'Thou shall no steal' is one of God's commandments, our saintly believer, Janet Lim Napoles, totally forgot & ignored. 2000 rosaries a day? Now, it's God she's trying to con. So what if she spent scholarship money for 200 priests or helped build churches? All the money came from her stolen loot anyway. This is hypocrisy of the highest order. It's typical among other crooks to do bad things & then confess their sins in the hope of being forgiven by Divine providence. It's the highest form of BS if you'll ask me. Majority of Filipinos are inclined to believe that she will roast in hell.
Name: HMSomeone City/State/Country: USA IP Address: 18.104.22.168
It's about time PNL raise this subject for discussion. The
Filipinos had been so brainwashed, threatened, terrorized and confused by the PHL style of Catholicism for centuries. The belief system implanted by the Friars had predictably turned into superstitions that immobilized the minds of
Filipinos. God's name was used as an instrument for intimidation. It's always punishment and hell to control the faithful. Love, Faith, Charity, Justice, became merely secondary reasons to believe in the Catholic Religion. That is not right.
Name: Jorge Villanueva City/State/Country: Canada IP
It's ironical that even the devil can interpret the scripture to serve his point of view. Presently, the country is gripped with uncertainty as to how far and how fast can the country resolved its problem with the culture of corruption. I re-emphasized the term as a culture and not an aberrant behavior or a mere episodic incident for it has gone through decades with corrupt politicians dipping in the public coffers assuming it as their own
and the public fully aware in passive acquiescence of the deed. Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and poor has become a chasm with the wretched poor unable to obtain the basic three-square meals per day and
startling diaspora with young blood rushing for better opportunities abroad. Quo vadis Philippines?
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comments for publication.
Many Filipinos today are realizing that the single, six-year presidential term as prescribed in the 1987 Constitution is woefully inadequate for a good president like Benigno S. Aquino III. The delegates who wrote that provision in the Constitution must have still been reeling from the almost 20 years of “kleptocratic” rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos when they decided that one term was enough for any future Philippine president. Four years—the presidential term at the time—would be too short; eight too long.
The arrogance of China is becoming readily apparent with each passing day. With their newly acquired economic and military power the Chinese appear unrestrained in their assertiveness towards their neighbors. China, instead of positioning itself as a 21st century superpower appears to be turning back the clock resembling more and more the 12th century empire of Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes who conquered most of Eurasia...just because they could.
On Her 5th Death Anniversary, We Say 'Thanks for Nothing Cory Aquino'
The passage of time has a way of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.
The Failure of Philippine Education Is Now Staring Us in the Face
Will the Philippines Ever Become a Developed Country? The short answer to that is no—at least not in our lifetime. While the country has of late improved it credit ratings as evidenced by upgrades from Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's all that perceived progress is illusory. In the Fifties and Sixties, when the Philippines was undeniably the country at the top of the heap in Southeast Asia, people said it would always be the most industrialized country in the region.
So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?
Though his popularity rating has taken some hits lately, Vice President Jejomar Binay is still far and away the strongest contender for the Philippine presidency in 2016. But is he the right choice for the country? His legions of supporters will give you an enthusiastic "yes;" his detractors however, will tell you "no!" So who's right? To answer our question, lets look instead at Binay's deeds rather than the words of his supporters or detractors.
China’s Military Base on Mabini Reef Violates the Philippine Constitution
While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis.
Napoles PDAF/NGO Scandal: What is Ten or Fifteen Billion Pesos Really Worth?
For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise. Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions.