UK still bullish on PH despite Duterte’s rhetoric – envoy
British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad on Tuesday said British investments in the country remain bullish despite President Duterte’s fiery rhetoric against the United States and European Union.
“We have nothing but positive experience here. Britain is already the number one investor here from Europe. What I’ve not seen is anybody that was going to invest in the country is to stop their projects,” Ahmand said.
The British envoy spoke at the sidelines of the signing of the Cultivating Holistic Accountability Towards National Growth and Empowerment (CHANGE), an accountability grant from the embassy to the Office of the Ombudsman to boost the institutional capacity of its investigators and prosecutors
Ahmad said he has not heard of any investors pulling out of the Philippines amid the President’s outbursts and growing international concern on the administration’s bloody war on drugs that left thousands of drug suspects dead.
“The businesses speaking to us in the months leading up to the elections, and making decisions to invest here, they’re still going ahead. What we don’t know is (if they are stopping their investments) upon hearing stories they’re hearing now,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad urged the Philippine government to ensure an environment that will build confidence of British investors here.
“I also said one has to be careful, because the business audience can only have limited attention span, and it’s up to the Philippines to fill that space with good news stories,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad said the United Kingdom wants to be part of the story when the Philippines becomes the world’s emerging economy.
“The Philippines deserves its fair share; you’ve got a talented work force and market… nothing should jeopardize on that from my view,” Ahmad said.
“These are all signs of us betting over 30 years that the Philippines will have a place as a strong emerging economy with global influence and we want to be part of that story,” he added.
In his speech, Ahmad raised the need for the two countries to uphold the “rule of law.”
“Why are we involved in this project? Because we are a country that enshrined the rule of law many centuries ago… The assurance I can give you is that the rule of law will prevail no matter where you are…not only are we interlinked as equals, but we are also interlinked by traditions of rule of law and democracy,” Ahmad said.
He explained why the Philippines is a conducive place to put up business.
“This is a great country we do business in. You have a talented and educated work force; there are 11 million Filipinos living and working abroad,” he added.
Ahmad also lauded the Ombudsman for its role in busting graft and corruption at the helm of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who received the accountability grant from the British Embassy.
“Fundamentally, every government has checks and balances, and this office is a fine example of that,” Ahmad said.
For her part, Ombudsman Morales said the accountability grant would assist the office in improving its institutional capacity through the conduct of seminars and trainings, as well as the crafting of an operational manual.
“This is a testament to the mutual trust and shared commitment of both institutions towards inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable initiatives and sound program and project management,” Morales said.
“Together, let us make a choice in giving lasting change a fighting chance,” she added, alluding also to the name of the project called CHANGE.
The project would cost P6.7 million.
Duterte has drawn criticisms from both the United States and the European Union over his administration’s bloody war on drugs, prompting the President Duterte to throw invectives against the Philippines’ two strongest allies.
Meanwhile, the UK has separated from the European Union in a popular referendum. The historic separation came to be known as “Brexit.”
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