Duterte’s Actions May Cause Economic Woes

By Marina Mangie

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s rule may become the cause of economic issues in the Philippines if he continues his present path of volatile leadership.

The most popular parts of Duterte’s presidential platform were his promises to fight government corruption, as well as crime. This includes a war on drugs, an effort by law enforcement to fight narcotics trafficking and abuse in the Philippines. Encouraged by Duterte’s promises, the war on drugs has become a rash of extrajudicial killings by the Filipino police.

Thousands of Filipinos have died since June 2016, when Duterte took office. The youngest victim was a 5-year-old girl named Danica May Garcia, who died as two men on motorcycles shot at her grandfather, according to The Washington Post, because he was a suspected drug dealer.

The United Nations has raised concerns about human rights abuses in the Philippines following its review of the country’s policies on Sept. 28 and 29.

The violence, which has turned many drug users and dealers against each other in an effort to protect themselves, has drawn negative attention from the international community, and this may have economic consequences for the Philippines.

Phillipines President Rodrigo R. Duterte shows a diagram of the connection of high-level drug syndicates operating in the country.

Philippines President Rodrigo R. Duterte shows a diagram of the connection of high-level drug syndicates operating in the country.

The U.S. government may rescind $6.7 million in law enforcement aid to the Philippines if the nation does not agree to abide by the terms the U.S. government has set. These terms are namely that the funds must be used in a way that is compliant with U.S. legal standards. This means that the U.S. government will not allow the money to be used to support the extrajudicial killings that Duterte has encouraged.

Other economic concerns come in the form of a nervousness on the part of foreign investors. The Philippine peso has dropped against the U.S. dollar 3.6 percent this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Philippines is popular for foreign investment because of its high rate of economic growth. And foreign investors contribute to most of the major industries that make up the Filipino economy, the Journal wrote.

While there is a law that prevents foreigners from owning or leasing local farmland, transnational corporations are very involved in the Philippines agribusiness, according to U.S. Army-sponsored research.

Duterte has just passed his first 100 days in office. His presidential controversies already include cancelled meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama after Duterte cursed Obama out in front of a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders, and growing concern over Duterte’s attempts to deepen ties with China.

The foreign investment community will likely be watching his next moves to see if they should put their money elsewhere.

Photograph from Wikimedia Commons

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