UNLESS President Benigno Aquino 3rd is able to address social problems the country is facing, he should not expect the $2.3-billion investment pledge from Europe to materialize, a lawmaker said on Sunday.
“No investor would [put in money]in a country with serious peace and order issues,” opposition Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito pointed out.
Ejercito cautioned Aquino against concluding this early that his recent trip to Europe was successful because his administration will have a hard time convincing foreign investors to do business in the Philippines.
Recent reports noted an apparent rise in criminality, with some incidents implicating officers and men of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Even the PNP chief, Alan Purisima, is facing a plunder complaint for his alleged involvement in a P100-million shady deal with a private courier service company.
Purisima is also accused of owning multi-million pieces of property in Metro Manila and nearby provinces that are not declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth or SALN.
Ejercito also cited an expected energy shortage in the country which, according to him, could discourage investors from even considering the Philippines as their next destination.
“The Philippines already is one of the countries with the most expensive electricity and now there is a looming power crisis next year, how can we expect investors to invest in our country?” he asked.
The President, in a briefing with Filipino journalists in Berlin last week, said his trip to Europe was successful partly because of the investment inflows to the Philippines.
According to him, the country can expect some $2.3 billion in investments in manufacturing, energy, information technology, infrastructure and transportation sectors.
Ejercito, however, remained unconvinced, asking, “The Philippines is like a computer that is infected with viruses, so how can the government convince investors to put their money in our country when we are hounded by so many problems?”
While he was not against the President’s visit to Europe, Ejercito said Aquino could have been more effective in his mission to attract investors if he was able to address the country’s problems first before trying to sell it.
He added that the country needs direct foreign investments, not pledges like the $2.3 billion that the President was bragging about.