By Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Killings prompt ‘hesitation’ among European investors

Posted on August 19, 2016

THE president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said there is a sense of “hesitation” among European businesses considering investing in the country, amid the spate of extrajudicial killings in the course of the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.

ECCP President Guenter Taus -- MCI.EDU
“There’s a hesitation at this point in time to really come in to the Philippines from an investment point of view because the people would rather be at a wait and see situation on how it turns out,” ECCP President Guenter Taus said at the sidelines of an EU-Philippine relations forum on Thursday.

Mr. Taus was elaborating on remarks he made in response to a question at the forum pointing out the extrajudicial killings amid the government’s war on drugs. President Rodrigo R. Duterte won by a landslide in this year’s election on the promise to rid the country of illegal drugs and their related criminality.

“This is not a judgmental issue. This is basically what we see and what we feel when we talk to international business trying to set up in the Philippines,” Mr. Taus also said.

“We’re not looking at it from a political point of view -- really from a business point of view. Everybody waits and sees what [findings] the human rights commission comes up with,” he said, referring to the almost 90 cases of suspected killings brought to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

“So I think this would explain the hesitation in business attitude and people are just waiting to see how it’s gonna end.”

When asked if he had any specific industry in mind, Mr. Taus said: “Nobody in particular we want to mention here, but it’s a general sentiment that we sense when [we] talk, when we do our trade missions in Europe.”

Apart from this, the Senate committee on justice and human rights, chaired by Senator Leila M. de Lima, would hold a probe in aid of legislation next week on the spate of killings since President Rodrigo R. Duterte assumed office on June 30.

A total of 665 suspects have been killed in legitimate anti-drug operations, with 899 more deaths since July 1 under verification as to their circumstances, said Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Ronald M. dela Rosa when he testified before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs also on Thursday.

“Let’s give the new administration a hundred days and judge it from there. But I think if this would continue, we would probably see more hesitation from the international business community when they look at the Philippines,” Mr. Taus said.