MANILA—Bringing back the death penalty in the system can affect the interest of British businesses to invest in the Philippines, United Kingdom Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad told reporters.
Ahmad opposes the passing the death penalty here, as the Philippines will deal a “severe blow” to investment interest of UK-based businesses in the country.
“I think there will be a severe blow. It basically says that the Philippines can walk away from international treaties. If you can walk away from an international treaty, it’s much more easy to walk away from a commercial treaty,” he said.
UK is the country’s largest source of investment in the European Union.
He mentioned that British businesses have been asking the embassy on the direction of the policy of the Duterte administration.
“Shareholders in British companies hold their companies in account for ethical practices and the like,” the envoy added.
But Ahmad noted that British firms remain interested to explore opportunities in the Philippines.
In fact, British technology firm Dyson Ltd. has committed to expand its manufacturing facility in the country and studying to bring its back office operation here, Ahmad shared.
Noting the country’s strong gross domestic product growth, the Philippines is an attractive market for UK businesses, the envoy said.
“It’s obvious, an economy growing 7.0 percent in a world where it’s difficult to get 2.0 percent; it’s an automatic magnet,” Ahmad said.
He assured the Philippine government of UK’s support to the policy of the administration to make the economy more inclusive.
However, he said the government should understand that there are “better ways to deal issues” particularly on illegal drugs, noting that the UK has bigger drug problem than the Philippines.
“What I’m saying is the distractions that we see now are almost “un-Filipino,” Ahmad said.