Philippine Attitude Toward Foreign Business
I came across this recent article in a decent-size, respected newspaper in Cebu … the second-largest city in the Philippines. So it is not just some off-the-wall crackpot writing from the hinterlands.
A lot of people wonder why I am not big at all on the idea of foreigners starting a business in the Philippines. To read more about what I think, personally, you might want to start with Philippine Business For Foreigners — You Can, You Can Not
I think this new, locally written article might express some of the attitude toward foreign business and investment better than I am able to.
Philippine Attitude Toward Foreign Business — For Real
A recent edition of Cebu Daily News, the editorial concludes with the following paragraphs:
“The removal of the 60-percent-40-percent equity limitations on foreign investors, for instance, has more than just economic repercussions.
“Allowing foreign ownership of our land would affect hundreds of thousands of farming families who still struggle to reap the benefits of agrarian reform and settlers who have no homes.
“The entry of alien entrepreneurs and professionals looking for work would affect the neighborhood small and medium enterprise and the livelihood of white-collar workers, whose exposure to continuing training pale in comparison to that of their foreign counterparts.
“Totally foreign-run businesses will affect the value system of Filipinos, considering that most investors still believe that businesses thrive through the promotion of unbridled consumerism.
“Obliviousness, in effect, to the much-cherished yet still poorly lived Filipino-first policy, will impact on our dwindling reserves of natural resources. What safety nets would be in place to counter the extinction of many biological species, which comes hand in hand with accelerated industrialization?
“Xenophobia has no place in the one family of nations, but making generous room for our alien brothers and sisters in our economy should not be done at the cost of turning our own people into foreigners in their own land; victims of created, unessential wants or mere cheap labor. Neither should it come at the cost of irredeemable losses in our ecology.
Philippine Attitude Toward Foreign Business — Xenophobic or just Cautious?
Well each reader will have to be his/her own judge of that. Myself, I have more than 10 years experience trying to reconcile what the Philippine government says they want for the people of the Philippines … opportunity for decent jobs, business investment, etc., and what the realities of life here really are.
Foreigners who start businesses here, no matter how much they may try to emphasize the benefits of those businesses toward Filipinos, are almost universally looked upon as opportunists who are somehow “stealing” from the Filipino.
Others may, of course, have a different opinion, but I myself feel that trying to start a business here is a path toward rather instant dislike and insane jealousy, no matter how much you may try to emphasize the fact that building a business that pays taxes, offers jobs, etc. is actually a benefit to all concerned.
It’s also, all too often, a way to get your pocket picked … often in open court under the full auspices of Philippine law. Highly NOT recommended in my book.
Philippine Attitude Toward Foreign Business — Bottom Line
If you want to come to the Philippines to live, and you want to/need to start a business to provide a source of income, well great. I’m all for that and I support you 100%.
But make you business plan one that earns it’s income from outside the Philippines, and do not bring yourself under the umbrella of Philippine business law, Philippine taxation and Philippine xenophobia.
By the way, it’s perfectly feasible to conceptualize such a business so that it provides work for Filipinos here in the Philippines … I write often of strategies that can accomplish that. Highly recommended.
Feel free to add your thoughts on the Philippine Attitude Toward Foreign Business.