Foreign biz chambers remain bullish on Philippines growth
MANILA, Philippines – Foreign businessmen are keeping their bullish prospects for the country intact as they commended the Duterte administration’s first year performance despite noting a couple of moves deemed “inappropriate.”
“We acknowledge the notable achievements of the current administration thus far. With this, it is fair to say that they have done a commendable job. With increased public and private sector cooperation, we believe even more can be achieved during President Duterte’s term,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Guenter Taus told The STAR.
Taus lauded the passage of the Freedom of Information Law which promotes accountability and transparency as well as the early pronouncements of easing restrictions on foreign ownership which he said has a positive impact on both those in the early stages of investing and who are already here to put growth plans into motion.
He said the strong commitment of the current administration to the ease of doing business would also play an important part in maintaining or even boosting the competitiveness of the country globally.
“We remain positive, and see the weaknesses as things that the private sector can work on with the government. We can spend a lifetime speaking on any government’s shortcomings but we prefer to focus on what has been done successfully and what we can do to support actionable initiatives,” Taus said.
For American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines senior advisor John Forbes, maintaining a high level of economic growth, starting the comprehensive tax reform, rolling out the ambitious Build Build Build infrastructure program and obtaining pledges for increased official development assistance to fund projects were all commendable efforts on the part of the government.
“There has been change and continuity, change in foreign policy and drug enforcement and continuity in most of the reforms of predecessor administrations,” Forbes said.
Forbes said while he would rather not talk about the administration’s “failures” in view of the complexity and challenges of modern governance, he cited “the inappropriateness of former DENR secretary’s action whom many believe acted beyond the law on mining and also the controversy surrounding the intensified war of the serious drug problem.”
Forbes said concerns remain among businessmen about the need for solutions to congestion of vehicle traffic in the National Capital Region as well as the growing congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Earlier, local businessmen for their part said they were generally satisfied with President Duterte’s performance in his first year in office.
The Makati Business Club said the group is grateful to the government’s economic team for engaging and encouraging public-private dialogue and consultations, while the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry lauded Duterte’s vicious war against drugs and his foreign policy which it described as a “game changer.”