Reports have quoted Christopher Leong, president of regional lawyer group LAWASIA, as saying that the government should take into account the short-term and long-term effects of the way crimes are solved.
Philstar.com/Denison Rey Dalupang
Panelo thinks extrajudicial killings not causing fear among investors
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday disputed claims that the issue of extrajudicial killings is affecting business confidence in the Philippines, maintaining the government is stepping up reforms to lure more investors.

Reports have quoted Christopher Leong, president of regional lawyer group LAWASIA, as saying that the government should take into account the short-term and long-term effects of the way crimes are solved.

He was also quoted as saying that extrajudicial killings and rule of law could affect the confidence of foreign businesses eyeing the Philippines.

But presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo claimed foreign investors never raised the issue of extrajudicial killings during their meeting with economic managers.

“I think whoever said that should conduct more research on that. According to our economic managers, particularly (finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez, (socioeconomic planning) Secretary (Ernesto) Pernia and (trade) Secretary (Ramon) Lopez, they are one in saying that never had that issue of human rights or extrajudicial killings been raised during meetings with investors and other conferences relative to the business investments in this country,” Panelo said at a press briefing,

Panelo claimed foreign investments have also increased despite allegations that the administration is condoning extrajudicial killings.

“If you compare that to the previous administration, we got huge investments from the foreign side,” he added.

But data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that foreign direct investment inflows dropped by 4.4 percent to $9.8 billion last year from $10.3 billion in 2017 as investors were concerned about the trade war between the United States and China and higher inflation.

Last year’s figure was also lower than the $10.4-billion target set by the central bank.

Panelo said the government has undertaken measures to address red tape, a problem that he said is turning off investors.

“If there is so much red tape, they will be discouraged in coming here. That is precisely why we have the law on stopping such...That’s the reason why we have that kind of law, precisely to encourage the foreign investors,” he said, referring to the ease of doing business law signed by the president last year. 

“And then, with respect to peace and order situation – and that is why there are so many foreign investors because they know that criminality has gone down considerably and there is war against illegal drugs and we are dismantling many factories producing shabu,” he added.

Panelo also described as an “exaggeration” the claim of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) that one lawyer had died every month since November. 

“I don’t think so. And even assuming that to be true, it cannot be attributed to the government or whatever because those deaths may be the result of the problems affecting that particular individual subject of the killing,” Panelo said. – Edu Punay

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
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