THERE is no doubt that majority of Filipinos especially the common masses still fully support President Rodrigo Duterte despite his unconventional leadership style.

But cracks are starting to surface in the leadership armor of President Duterte especially in the diplomatic and business fronts.

As everyone now knows, President Duterte easily turns ballistic every time the issue on extra-judicial killings is mentioned in connection with his anti-illegal drugs and criminality campaign.

Lately, however there are signs the international community’s patience on President Duterte is already wearing thin as foreign investors now appear ambivalent in the local market.

This is because analysts and traders could not seem to figure out the exact economic road and policies that the Duterte administration would want to take.

As a result, the stock market is now on rough waters as the peso plunged to a seven-year low recently, reversing the initial optimism after his June 30 inauguration.

Experts agree that Duterte’s unpredictability is slowing longer-term foreign investments in the Philippines which have been severely affected by his frequent outbursts that are mostly directed on international figures and organizations. 

Guenter Taus, head of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines summed it when he said that all their deals come with risks because of uncertainty. 

“We can put measures in place to provide for risks,” he said “but uncertainty is a factor that we do not like in business, and that is exactly what we’re experiencing right now because we don’t know where we are heading” he was quoted as saying.

Taus said several companies that had intended to establish operations to the Philippines now prefer to wait and see what happens under Duterte. 

He said investors are unsure the Philippines may choose to look at other Southeast Asian countries to gain access to the region’s common market of more than 600 million people.

This paper however believes that notwithstanding President Duterte’s frequent diplomatic gaffe’ the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong and its potentials high.

Instead of having negative effects, his vigorous anti-drug campaign could even entice investors who might prefer the Philippines as their destination because they know that their investments are safer here than elsewhere.

However, despite our support for President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, we still value human life and look at it as a gift from God and therefore we expect authorities to still carry on the anti-drug war within the ambit of the law.

As such, it would serve the country in good stead if the government will properly observe the rule of law in the pursuit of a peaceful and free country. 



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Friday, 17 January 2020
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