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: China’s Military Base on Mabini Reef Violates the Philippine
Name: Sam Juan City/State/Country: Panay Hilong Hilo
IP Address: 188.8.131.52
JRH was asking for a
solution regarding this China issue and [someone] forwarded his suggestion--
PRAY! [Someone] cautioned that the praying should be done in the rightful and
original Christian church and not in some sect to be effective. Someone hinted
that those prayer must have been answered because part of china has now the
bubonic plague! Galing!!! China should be shaking in fear now because a
"creationist" also dove in to join the discussion adding Noah and the great
deluge in the equation-- ang Husay!! It is really more fun in the Philippines!
Ang saya saya!
Name: SOMEONE City/State/Country: USA
IP Address: 184.108.40.206
The COMMUNIST FACTOR. Look at what the Communist are busy doing these days. Filing plunder cases one after another. Is it farfetched to think that these people may actually be aiding China in occupying parts of the PHL? I do not hear these people make any comment about "resisting the invader" or dying for the PHL to protect it from China, have you? These people are the "Sleepers" of China. Sleepers in spy craft means inactive secret agents who could be activated at a given time and for certain purposes. They are among
Filipinos but actually working for anyone who could aid them in grabbing power. In this case China. These are very dangerous people. History tells that these Communists drenched the world with the blood of people they hate. Better Lito Lapid than these Communists, I say.
City/State/Country: Ontario IP Address: 220.127.116.11
At least there is one Filipino borne, bold enough to condemn evil Communist China participating in the naval exercise, RIMPAC. While RIMPAC was going on, your Communist China's spy ship was around. Why would you trust Communist China? It is stupid for Filipinos to say Philippines can't win against Communist China because of its military power and would rather prefer to be slaves again. Why mention things that's quite obvious with such stupid minds instead of enhancing and be optimistic in upgrading the country's military welfare. You have the bad Filipino mentality.
Name: E. Tan
City/State/Country: Ongpin IP Address: 18.104.22.168
[Someone's] question: What is the solution to China's occupation of our territories in West Philippines sea? Filipinos vote for ate Glo next election and she will make all those reefs and shoals disappear, maniwala kayo sa akin!
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comments for publication.
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.
With Senator Bong Revilla already in police custody in Camp Crame and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile set to join him any day now, people need to start asking tough questions going forward. The privilege speeches of the senators along with the histrionics that accompanied them are thankfully now over so we can all address this issue more objectively.
The Self-Perpetuating Elite of the Philippines
In an essay published in the July 1968 issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs, a novice Philippine senator described his country as “a land in which a few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. . . . a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy… a people whose ambitions run high, but whose fulfillment is low and mainly restricted to the self-perpetuating elite…a land of privilege and rank – a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”
PHL Legislators Implicated in the Napoles PDAF Scam Face Definite Jail Time...Maybe
In the United States former four-star General and until recently Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was forced to resign as head of the VA by the ongoing healthcare scandal that has enveloped that agency. While one can safely assume that Shinseki was not involved in the actually transgressions being investigated, the fact that he headed the agency meant he had command responsibility over its entire staff. And their wrongful acts, whether he knew about them or not, cost him his job. That is the way things work in properly functioning democracies. In the Philippines however, things tend to get a little unusual.
Why All the Fuss? We Knew They were Corrupt Anyway!
So finally the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. But we Pinoys should not be surprised at all. We all know how corrupt our country is. Even before former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was accused of electoral sabotage and the misuse of public funds in 2011; even before Joseph “Erap” Estrada—an earlier president was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan in 2007; even before Ferdinand Marcos, a president-turned-dictator, was booted out of the country along with his family and cronies twenty-eight years ago; we Pinoys knew they were corrupt.
The Case of Denise Cornejo and Cedric Lee, a Litmus Test for Pnoy and Philippine Justice
Now that the star attraction in the alleged Vhong Navarro rape incident is in police custody, the upcoming trial will be a litmus test for the Aquino administration as well as the Courts. The almost universal perception is that Philippine justice is broken and does not work. Laws are applied inequitably with the wealthy and powerful living almost above the law, while the common "tao" finds himself at the losing end of cases that usually drag on for years.
Obama's Visit a Shot in the Arm for a Struggling Ally
After essentially showing the American Military the door in the early '90s, Filipinos have of late come to the realization that they need their "Uncle Sam" more than they thought they did. And back then the United States was also more than happy to oblige as their Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission had been closing down hundreds of military installations all across the USA.
We Treasure Our Sierra Madre
In the1948 John Houston movie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, three destitute Americans working as gold prospectors mining the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico are confronted by bandits posing as mounted police (“Federales”). When they are asked to produce their badges, the chief bandit's response is classic: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”