PH might lose 'tremendous' investments from US, former envoy warns

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2016 05:46 PM

MANILA- The Philippines stands to lose "tremendous" investments following President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement of "separation" from the United States, a former envoy said Friday.

Former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia, said Duterte's statements create "uncertainty" among investors, particularly American investors.

"Definitely, it will create uncertainty [and] concern among foreign investors, American investors in particular, because this is a major shift in foreign policy coming from the president himself so that certainly will create a lot of uncertainty," Cuisia said in an interview on ANC's "Market Edge."

Cuisia explained that in terms of investments, the Philippines has more investments in mainland China than they have in the country.

He also explained that certain industries which are dominated by American firms in the country such as the BPO industry will be greatly affected by the shift in foreign policy.

The BPO industry generates around $25 billion in revenue for the Philippines wherein 85 percents of the firms are American, according to Cuisia.

"China is probably our second largest trading partner but the US is also a very major trading partner. It has second largest investment in terms of foreign investment," he said. 

In terms of grants, Cuisia said one grant from the US alone has reached more than $400 million while China has only discussed about granting the Philippines "soft loans."

"How much grants do we expect from China? They talk about this $13 billion. These are all loans. These are mostly soft loans.
Are they talking about investments in the Philippines? I have not seen any major investment being done by the Chinese companies in the Philippines," Cuisia said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has committed to provide the Philippines with a $9-billion “soft loan” for development projects and drug rehabilitation programs as part of the $13.5 billion in deals, signed on Thursday during Duterte's four-day state visit to China.

Though the President is the chief architect of foreign policy, Cuisia said presidents normally discuss "major decisions" with their Cabinet but with Duterte, he gets the impression that no discussion was made prior to the announcement in China.

"I'm wondering whether this has really been, this shift in policy has been studied carefully, has been discussed thoroughly with the Cabinet, because I get an impression that it was not," he said.

For the last six years alone, Cuisia said the US has given over $1.3 billion in military, security, and economic assistance to the Philippines.

"The US and the Philippines have been allies for 70 years and the US has been our only treaty ally. I wonder whether the administration of President Duterte appreciates all the assistance of the US over the last six years," he said.