“Sometimes more often than not, we hope the candidates will do as they promised. But this is one time I am hoping that this particular candidate does not do what he promises to do,” said Del Rosario referring to some of Duterte’s statements which
he said indicates a “lack of respect to the rule of law.”
Such lack of respect for the rule of law could erode confidence and scare away investments, according to the MBC chair.
Del Rosario said: “Let us recall some of Duterte’s statements” :
– 100,000 suspected criminals will be dumped in Manila Bay and in waterways because he will order them killed;
– if suspected criminals resist arrest, the order to law enforcers is to kill them;
– he will arm the law enforcers with pre-signed pardons so that they will not be interfered by do-gooders like the Commission on Human Rights (CHR);
– if one of his sons is a drug addict he will also order him killed
– he has made it known that he is not going to tolerate the Ombudsman, CHR or Congress interfering with what he wants done and for them to stay out of his way
– If Congress interferes or if it threatens him with impeachment, he will abolish Congress
– He has also talked about the setting up a revolutionary government and;
– He described himself as a socialist
If Del Rosario is disturbed about Duterte, he is disappointed with Mar Roxas.
Other business leaders expressed differing opinions on two presidential candidates it has so far had audience with but stressed that it will extend its “hand of friendship and support” to whoever wins in the election on May 9.
Del Rosario also stressed the importance of the quality of the president to be elected and for voters to make the right choice.
“Whoever is the president we in the business community will extend our hand of friendship and support and … it is through a process of collaboration, cooperation and mutual support that the country moves forward… it is best when various sectors of economy and the country work (together) that we do better than if we are quarreling with each other,” Del Rosario said.
“However I do think the quality of our next president makes a difference. I agree that our economy has a lot of momentum behind it and that growth will more likely than not will continue hopefully over next six years and certainly in the early years of the next administration, the momentum will carry on,” he said.
“The image he (Duterte) creates in my mind is a disturbing one. (What) he has probably indicated is the lack of respect for the rule of law which is extremely important … if we want to have confidence in the economy. The rule of law is the foundation by which confidence built is built, and it is confidence that (allows) the flow of investment and investments create jobs. If we don’t have investments and jobs,then we will have a problem,” Del Rosario said.
He added: “ That is why I worry if we take the mayor’s words at face value . Some people say that it is just tough talk, ‘ don’t worry he will not really do it.’ But what if he does?”
Del Rosario then advised voters to “figure out what kind of president or leader we want and what that leader will do for our economy.”
After painting a gloomy scenario, Del Rosario candidly said: “We should keep the faith. Faith in the Filipino, faith in God will be helpful also. We hope for the best. Whatever the outcome is, we should try to come together and rally around our leader regardless of our differences; look for things that unite us rather than those which divides us.”
He quickly reiterated that “While I express some apprehension on the current frontrunner, many of us in the business community have made up our minds to extend our hand of cooperation. We have our own preferences. But after the elections that would not matter anymore,” Del Rosario said.
It is also in this context that Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, is apprehensive that investors would hold back or delay their investment decisions if the country does not come together.
“If we cannot agree on policies after the new administration is in, investors will make a decision… delay expansion, foreign investors don’t want to come in at this state. If we want inclusive growth, if we want FDIs, we need to open the economy.. .it is not going to happen… That is the downside if the hand reached out is not accepted,” Schumacher said.
Del Rosario also said business was disappointed over Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas’ wariness in opening up the economy further.
“That’s quite disappointing. We in the Philippines Business Groups and the Joint Foreign Chambers had been agitating strongly about (opening the economy) . (The reason) why (the Philippines is a) laggard in foreign direct investments in Asean is because the economy is overly restricted inspite of all the gains achieved the past six years,” Del Rosario said.
He added that many in the business community have come to a conclusion that it is beneficial for the country to take this opening up step by step as House Speaker Sonny Belmonte had recommended, which is to first remove from the Constitution the economic restrictions and allow Congress to act whether or not there should be restrictions.
“There are few Constitutions in the world that has these restrictions embedded; it is not appropriate that restrictions are embedded in the Constitution but they should be in the purview of Congress, which could act with more ease in varying the policies of government depending on circumstances. That is the first step and then Congress will act and free up certain sectors for a much stronger entry of foreign investments,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario noted the importance of an open economy in bringing in foreign investments. “It is not just capital that would come. (Foreign investors) bring in world class management and world class business practices which makes an economy stronger, competitive and what is important (they) will create jobs which is the the key to having inclusive economic growth.,