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Foreign investors hesitant amid extrajudicial killings

Human rights activists light candles for the victims of extra-judicial killings around the country in the wake of "War on Drugs" campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The "war on drugs" campaign, which saw hundreds of mostly poor victims, has been condemned by human rights groups including the United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign investors have become hesitant to invest in the Philippines because of a spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions of alleged drug peddlers in the country, a European businessman said.

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) President Guenter Taus admitted that the foreign business sector from Europe, the United States and Canada are wary of the recent developments in the country as a new administration takes office.

"We do feel there is hesitation there," Taus said in a roundtable discussion organized by the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines at Far Eastern University in Makati City.

Taus noted that the ECCP is following developments on the 91 cases filed before the Commission on Human Rights in connection to the drug-related killings.

Meanwhile, European Union (EU) Ambassador Franz Jessen said that the union is on "wait and see" mode on the developments of the issue.

"We are not passing judgment at this point in time. We will wait and see," Jessen said during the roundtable discussion.

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President Rodrigo Duterte has said that the deaths, which he said were done by criminals, should not be attributed to the government.

He has also reminded security forces that killing suspects can only be done when their lives are in danger. He also told them, however, that the government will protect them from cases as long as they are doing their jobs properly.

Jessen noted that the EU is encouraged by the progress of the peace process in Mindanao but remains skeptical about other developments in the country. He did not elaborate.

The government has been pushing for a resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front. It has also been moving forward on existing peace agreements with the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which have agreed to work on a common road map for peace in the southern Philippines.  

The EU Delegation of the Philippines earlier met with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez to discuss how they can work together. The Philippines and the EU are looking forward to a stronger free trade agreement under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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