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Ignoring the warning signals Featured

Ignoring the warning signals

The

fall of foreign direct investments to the Philippines can

best

 be described as precipitous. Yet, it was not surprising, all

 things considered.

 The

 inflow of FDIs is only one measure of how well a country’s

 economy is going, but it does not solely measure the state

 of a nation. For

 now, it would appear that the Philippine economy is doing

 well. The construction boom continues, car sales

 are shooting through the roof, and the business process

 outsourcing industry is

 still doing well.

 Even

 the tourism industry is still relatively stable. But any and

 all of these positives can collapse in an instant and the

 Duterte

 administration will have no one to blame but

 itself.

 The

 sharp drop in FDIs can be interpreted to mean that the big

 players no longer see the Philippines in the same light as

 they did during the

 previous administration. Back then, the Philippines was

 considered as one of

 the best places to invest in. Foreign and local investors

 were placing their

funds in the stock market and directly to businesses such as

 real estate,

 manufacturing, transportation, and assorted services knowing

 full well that

 they would earn decent profits with no

 sweat.

 Foreigners,

 in particular, demand economic and political stability

 before they place their funds outside their home bases, and

 here is where the

 Philippine government, specifically the Duterte

 administration which remains in

 power until 2022, can expect trouble in the near

term.

 The

 Marawi crisis which lasted much longer than anyone expected

 showed that the Philippines could be targeted by ISIS with

 ease. The Maute

 group may be close to being destroyed by the Armed Forces of

 the Philippines,

 but the resilience they showed during the crisis could

 inspire other groups

 enamored with ISIS to challenge the national government

 anywhere, anytime.

 The

 unabated extrajudicial killings of drug suspects has also

 given the country a negative image worldwide, and no amount

 of denials by Mr.

 Duterte and his minions can erase the truth. Innocent

 civilians are being

killed in the name of the president’s war on drugs, and

 the last straw may have

 been when two minors were killed by policemen recently.

 Figures

will be debated, but the generally accepted figure is more

 than 10,000 mostly poor drug suspects have been killed by

 the Philippine

 National Police extrajudicially.

That’s

 about the size of a small town. And since the EJKs are

 ongoing, by the time Mr. Duterte steps down, the figure will

likely balloon to

 the point that the number of victims will be equivalent to

 the population of a

 big city.

 The

 real problem is actually Mr. Duterte himself. He never

 abandoned his mindset of thinking like a city mayor instead

of a president of a

 country.

His

 successes as administrator of Davao City are well known. He

 was able to clean up the city because he took an extreme

hardline stance

 against criminality. There were constant rumors of Mr.

 Duterte personally

 killing criminals, and depending on when and who he is

 speaking with, the

 president himself claims to have shot to death a number of

hardened crooks.

 His

 declaration of martial law in all of Mindanao and recent

 threat to place the entire country under his one-man rule

was one more reason

 that foreign investors have opted to take their funds

 elsewhere.

 We all

know the saying: You can’t teach an old dog new

tricks.

 The

president can talk the talk all he wants, and he has enough

sycophants surrounding him to tell him all is well.

Unfortunately for him, his administration’s flaws and weaknesses have now been laid

bare for all the world

 to see.

 A few

 days ago, the results of a new survey showed that his

 popularity had taken a sudden dive. As expected, Malacanang

 spin doctors said

 there was nothing wrong with this, and that there was no

need to worry.

 Those

same mouthpieces want the public to believe that the falling

 investments are a temporary glitch and that the economy

 remains strong.

 It’s

 not. In the weeks and months to come, the shaky state of the

 economy will become clearer to all as the prices of goods

 and services rise and

 the growth will sputter. Perhaps not to a halt, but enough

 to cause a steady rise

 in unemployment and the instability that goes with

it.

Mr.

 Duterte will not care because he knows that he cannot be

 removed from office. He cannot be impeached because

impeachment proceedings

begin at the House of Representatives, the majority of whom

 have pledged their

 loyalty to him.

They

 are the reason the Philippines now feels like a sinking

 ship.

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