The UK’s Department for International Trade has expressed concern on the current business risks in the Philippines.
The areas of economic risks are linked to the political and security conditions in the country. Restrictive economic provisions on foreign ownership, corruption and the high cost of utilities continue to keep foreign investments significantly lower than regional peers. Country competitiveness is also undermined by a high regulatory burden and red tape.
One of the main concerns among investors and business groups is peace and order, particularly in the Mindanao region. The 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) provides some hope for peace in the region that could unlock the potential for long-term economic opportunities in Mindanao.
The Philippines has high incidence of violent crime, including gun crime. While British Nationals have been recent victims, there is no evidence that they are specifically targeted. Gun ownership, legal and illegal, is extremely widespread but foreign nationals are not permitted to carry firearms. Street ‘crime’ and robberies, such as bag snatching or pickpocketing are prevalent, even in well-lit and busy city areas. Visitors should also be wary of drugged drinks. Public transport is also subject to distraction theft and armed robberies from time to time.
Although mostly assumed to be wealthy, foreigners are not normally singled out as targets. The majority of crimes against foreigners involve petty thefts and robberies. British visitors to the Philippines should not feel particularly exposed, provided certain common sense precautions are taken, particularly when travelling with large amounts of currency, jewellery or other high-value items such as PCs, laptops, mobile phones and other electronics, etc. Visitors should also be aware that strict limits on bringing in or taking out currencies are in place.
Counterfeiting is large-scale and organised. Nothing is immune from abuse either in counterfeiting or pirating: computer games, business software, DVDs, clothing, high-value consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, industrial products, among others, are all readily available in both legitimate and illegitimate outlets.