European businesses to stay in PH—ECCP president
European businesses are here to stay in the Philippines despite the curse-laden remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte and his warning against the European Union (EU) parliaments for criticizing his drug war.
“We’ve been in this country for 40 years and we intend to stay for another 40, if not a hundred,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) President Guenter Taus said on Tuesday at the sidelines of a business event in Pasay City.
“Life has its ups and downs but there’s no reason for us to leave the country or to think that investments are not coming,” Taus said.
Asked whether Duterte’s harsh remarks affected the Europe-Philippines business relations, Taus said: “We’ve heard it before and it has not had much effect on us doing business on the ground. So let’s just keep it as such.”
“We know rhetoric is rhetoric and we have taken it with a smile,” he added.
Last Thursday, Duterte again threatened to cut diplomatic ties with the EU and ordered them to leave the country in 24 hours if they would not stop interfering with the country’s affairs.
This was after an international human rights group and a mission of international parliamentarians and civil society leaders warned that the Philippines will face UN and EU sanctions if the government failed to stop the killing of drug suspects and allow an independent investigation of the war on drugs.
The delegation included seven members of the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists.
Not EU sanctioned
In a separate ambush interview, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez reiterated Malacañang’s earlier clarification that Duterte was railing against the European parliamentarians who had expressed concerns about human rights violations in country, but not the EU in general.
“(The President) has made it clear that that will be the position if there’s clear interference from any group and the recent one was not an EU-sanctioned group, so obviously he remarks do not represent the EU itself,” Lopez said.
“It does not reflect the European opinion and if you look at it, the negotiations are still ongoing and everything is on track. Only time will tell what’s going to happen next but we can peacefully say that negotiations are still ongoing,” he said.
Taus also explained the difference between the EU parliament and the EU commission.
“These are totally two separate entities, and while the EU commission cannot stop EU parliament from seeing things they see, the EU commission we look after business not politics so that’s a clear distinction between the two,” he said. /jpv
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