NEW TRADE ALLIANCES WITH CHINA AND RUSSIA UNDERWAY, DUTERTE SAYS
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to pursue new alliances with China and Russia amidst reports of him accusing the U.S. of undermining the Philippines. Since taking office at the last week of June, Bloomberg reported the Philippine President has managed to insult United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barrack Obama.
Over the weekend, Duterte has expressed interest in acquiring weapons from China despite its previous disputes with country over the South China Sea (Known in Manila as West Philippine Sea). It was noted that the Philippines won the arbitration case against China in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) last July. However, China failed to recognize the judgment.
In a conference held last September 20, 2016, Duterte rejected the European Union's condemnation of his crackdown on alleged drug dealers, which has led to 3,500 vigilante killings since July 1. "I'll tell them F--- you," Duterte said.
A report from Bloomberg said that Duterte is confident that his provocative actions won't scare away businesses. Citing that after Benigno Aquino's term came to an end, the economy was in the best shape it had been in decades.
Higher Growth for PH Economy
Gross domestic product grew 7 percent in the second quarter from the year earlier, foreign reserves are at a record high of $85.9 billion, and inflation is tame at less than 2 percent. With the unemployment rate falling to 5 percent, fewer Filipinos seek abroad for employment. As wage costs continue to rise in India, the Philippines has become the destination for companies looking for an inexpensive emerging-market country with low-cost English proficient workers, reports say.
Outsourcing operations in 2016 will employ more than 1 million people in the Philippines. Last September 16, Visa recently established a customer support center that will have about 570 employees.
However, despite positive the country's positive development, S&P Global ratings issued a warning on Sept 21 that increased uncertainty in the country has been looming overseas after extra-judicial reports since President Duterte took office.
The American Chamber of commerce released a statement saying, "The long standing optimism of American business to invest in the Philippines could undermine respect for the rule of law and human rights."