MANILA - Businessmen with government contracts have “nothing to worry” about the administration’s reviews, Malacañang said Thursday as President Rodrigo Duterte sought to “correct” the “onerous” deals entered into by his predecessors.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo assured local and foreign investors that the President would not touch contracts that adhere to the law.
“Let me allay the fears of foreign investors and Filipino businessmen, you don’t have to worry about the review kasi if there’s nothing [illegal] with your contracts, there’s nothing to worry about,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
“The President will certainly respect the sanctity of contracts except only if from the very provisions, it appears contrary to law, contrary to public interest, and public policy. Otherwise wala ‘yan, ganun pa din ‘yan (it will be the same),” he added.
Duterte earlier this month promised to "correct" all government contracts before he steps down from office in 2022, a statement that sent stock prices of affected companies tumbling.
Government's contracts with different private firms were put under scrutiny after the President criticized the supposedly onerous agreements with water suppliers Maynilad and Manila Water.
Other companies that have since been targeted by the government’s review are energy corporation Chevron Philippines, and real estate firm Ayala Land Inc.
“Any pronouncement that says that the government will examine, evaluate or review onerous contracts is not something that businessmen should be afraid of because it is the duty of the government precisely to protect the interest of the Filipino people,” Panelo said.
Panelo, also the President’s chief legal counsel, added that the government under Duterte would not be “reckless” to enter into any onerous contract with a private firm.
“There is nothing to worry [about] on the part of businessmen whether foreign or local because the government will not be reckless to step into any contract that is contrary to law,” he said.
Duterte previously rejected threats of possible investment losses because of his crackdown on onerous government contracts, saying he is after "justice for Filipino people."
"You thought they will be getting out of the Philippines? Fine, go out, be my guest. I will not be intimidated or even fear of the possibility of reduced investment in this country," he said.