Are we getting isolated?
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - October 11, 2017 - 4:00pm

Among the first few things I learned when I was a junior in law school was the concept that while international law is not a true law in the sense it is not promulgated by a superior authority yet it is still a law because its breach by a state brings upon itself isolation from other states.

When a state gets isolated because other countries refuse to deal with it such isolation is a form of international sanction. This is specially true in the modern context that no state can continue to exist without any kind of transnational relations.

It seems to me that the application of the principle I just mentioned above provides basis to the most alarming Philippine scene. I am referring to the worst reduction of foreign direct investments poured in our country. Transnational corporations and international funding agencies might be trying to minimize, if not close the investment funnel to our country for diverse reasons. For want of any accessible piece of solid evidence, I can only conjecture that we maybe starting to get isolated as a form of sanction.

Last week, in a hearing on a part of the national budget which the Senate is currently deliberating, the hierarchy of the National Economic Development Authority has no explanation to the fall, in terms of percentages, of the amount of investments from abroad. Senator Franklin Drilon was hoping to hear any possible reason why for the period ending September 2016, more than one billion dollars were invested in the Philippines by foreign investment portfolio but only a little more than one hundred million dollars came from such foreign investors for the same period, this time September 2017.

The figures are alarmingly revealing and I hope I remember the data correctly. As of September 2016, one billion dollars were invested in our country. But as of September 2017, only more than one hundred million dollars reached us. That is a 90 percent reduction of capital inflow. The hearing revealed that we were beaten by Myanmar in attracting such funds. Our financial authorities were at a loss of words to rationalize our country's failure to get the nine hundred million dollars of investment fund we received last year. What's wrong?

Few days ago, an international human rights group was reported to be visiting our country. They were supposed to do a fact-finding investigation into alleged violations of human rights as the "extra judicial killings." The members of that group, in a media conference broadcast that I partly saw, cautioned our country's leadership against the manner by which the war against illegal drug is waged. To them, the figures of deaths inflicted upon suspected drug peddlers were staggering and the legal shortcuts seemed to breach acceptable international standards of justice.

The message was rather clear. Even if they were using words couched in doctrinaire language, they did not hide their point that our failure to abide by international treaties on human rights may lead us to isolation.

We are all aware that there were previous groups of international human rights' advocates who came to our shores, conducted inquiries and criticized the way our government fights this drug menace. They expressed their variance to President Duterte's methodology more than a year ago. They also aired similar hints of sanctions in case of continued EJK's. So may I ask, is there any direct bearing of these words of caution amounting threats of isolation to the unprecedented drop of foreign direct investments?

If there is a demonstrable link between those warnings on one hand and the shortfall of investments on the other hand, it must be the result of president's inability to comply with our treaty commitments. So the ball is in his court.

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