Stench of the Philippine Economy: Why the Country Repels Foreign Investors

by Jana Maisei Venigas || Photo Credit: Nathalia Canlas

            Gas prices sit at scarily huge numbers. The daily commuter spends twice as much than they used to pay in past years. The dollar weighs heavier than it ever has to the Filipinos. These are just some of the effects resulting from the economic crisis the Philippines currently lives in. With the war between Russia and Ukraine, the rest of the world is having a difficult economic time, most especially third-world countries such as the Philippines. 

            Truly, international conflicts obstruct the economic growth of the Philippines, but could this really be the only reason? Should we completely disregard those with the power to change the course of things?

            From September 18 to 24, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. traveled to the United States to speak at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). His goal in having done so is to secure foreign investors, emphasizing that the Philippines is a growing economy. Given the economic situation of the Philippines, foreign aid would help overturn the impacts in these times, as well as accelerate national recovery. However, foreign investors seem harder than ever to grasp.

            Despite Marcos’ efforts, it seems that foreign investors themselves turn away from aiding the Philippines. The Philippines is deemed unattractive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), according to Oxford Economics’ FDI scorecard. The scorecard heavily emphasizes the quality of infrastructure, which former president Rodrigo Duterte tried to salvage through his “Build, Build, Build” program. Still, the Philippines, as a developing country, faces the worst of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine economic effects. Having foreign investors refuse us not only exposes the deep lack of this country’s competency in economic development but also the deep financial hole our government has dug us into.

What directed away the appeal to invest in the Philippines?

            The attractiveness of a country to foreign investors is highly reliant on its quality infrastructure. But other than that, the Philippines also proves to have lackluster performance in other parts: firstly, the country’s funding for agriculture is inadequate. Its farmers scrape by, experiencing the lowest pays despite being the primary producer of the country. 

            Secondly, investors veer away from governments whose corruption leaks in large quantities. There is growing concern that the Philippines’ appeal to foreign investors is diminishing due to the uncertainty of the government’s integrity. 

            Statistics show that the Filipino people are poorer in 2022 than in 2018 [1]. But while there may be many factors that affect today’s poverty, such as COVID-19 lockdowns and the Russia-Ukraine war, there is no reason to believe this is a matter that cannot be helped. After all, the job of our country leaders is to assert themselves and initiate fruitful economic growth. Yet at times the country most needs it, the reek of the Philippine economy repulses foreign investors.



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