Foreign Investors Beware of Philippines?

Or perhaps foreigners at all.  It isn’t a pretty subject.  Its not a pleasant subject and I have to be

Police man Open Jail Door

Especially Foreigners

careful how I word it.  After all, I’m a visitor here.  I can’t protest.  I don’t have freedom of speech while in the Philippines.  If you can’t deal with that, don’t come here.

Over the last year or so, I’ve seen two legal situations develop where attorneys here in the Philippines were quoted as using the term “and especially foreigners.”  One involved a criminal situation and the other, for now, is civil.  Both of these situations developed regarding expats  living in Cebu.

The most recent instance that I saw is shown below:

“This action is not only about demolishing illegal structures on our beautiful seashore that block the free public passage. More important, it is about sending a message to the rest of the country that our beautiful coastline must not be enclosed for the exclusive use of anyone, especially by foreigners and foreign-owned resorts. This abuse of our beaches has been going on for too long and has been tolerated by people who are supposed to enforce the law,” said lawyer Ben Cabrido, a member of the Global Legal Action on Climate Change (GLACC)

The above is from an article in The Cebu Daily News.  In this case, it applies to resort owners that have built to close to the sea.  There are a lot of homes along the shore line though, they appear to be in violation too.  I sure hope they don’t tear the homes down of the Filipino that live along that shore line.

In my mind, going to invest in a foreign land is very risky.  Part of that, is following the law and the customs of the place that you do not come from.  Applying your own standards to such a place is plagued with problems.  Of course you should follow local law.  That’s not my concern.  My concern is that statements like “and especially foreigners” may suggest a hostile environment.  It suggest you’re going to be held to a higher standard but to me, it suggest that there is resentment that not all welcome me.  Harsh, I know.  Makes me sad but it appears to be true.

Last year there was the case of a guy way to old to be holed up in a hotel room with a young girl.  Once again though, that term, “especially foreigners” is used with in the judicial system.  This time, by a prosecutor.

Lawyer Irene Cabales of the Children’s Legal Bureau said they would want to test Republic Act 7610 that prohibits anyone, especially foreigners, from having minors under their custody

That was quoted in many articles about a year ago.  I took this one from Global Nation.   That prosecutor has a double standard.  He seems to be quite open about it.  I hate that I have to say this, but if I don’t, someone will say it.  Of course I don’t want grown men having sexy with young girls as was implied to be happening in this case.

What I’m commenting on is that there seems to be an accepted double standard toward the law of the Philippines and its application toward foreigners.

Even if the courts are not going to make that distinction, if the people bringing such cases to trial are filing against foreigners only then its part of the legal system.  More important to me, what does it say about my welcome here?

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Filed under: Expats Living in Cebu

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