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  1. Join Date
    Nov 2002
    tsk tsk tsk... mukhang cha-cha na talaga.

    A team of Filipino and Australian miners struck gold several years ago near the village of Tampakan, high in the mountains of the southern Philippines. Better yet, they also found so much copper that the site some day could become one of the largest copper mines in Asia.

    But in January, just days after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved a plan to hasten the development of the country's mining industry, Tampakan mine developer Sagittarius Mining was dealt an unexpected blow - the Supreme Court said the project was illegal because it contravened the Philippines' constitution.

    "We were shocked and stunned," says Tony Robbins, the acting managing director of Sagittarius's Australian partner, Indophil Resources NL. "Nobody knew what had happened."

    What happened was that Indophil and its local partners discovered the hurdles to doing business in developing countries that are shackled to revanchist economic regulation. In Latin America, for instance, incoming governments frequently rewrite constitutions to micromanage economic and social policy.

    The Philippines, meanwhile, is tied to a 1987 constitution written mainly by nationalist foes of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

    The charter explicitly excludes foreign investment from many sectors, and limits foreign participation in others. Over the years that has enabled courts to intervene repeatedly for reasons the investors could hardly have foreseen.

    In the 1990s, for example, Malaysian investors were prevented from redeveloping the Manila Hotel - World War II hotel headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur - because the Supreme Court ruled it was part of the Philippines' national heritage; only Filipinos could manage and own the hotel.

    Mining, in particular, has been curtailed. By some estimates this chain of islands contains the world's fifth-largest deposits of minerals. The government hoped to attract foreign investment in mining when a new law passed in 1995, letting foreign companies own as much as 100 per cent of Philippine mining ventures.

    But legal challenges to the constitutionality of the 1995 law have stalled liberalisation. And without foreign capital, many potential sites remain untouched.

    Philippine environmental campaigners have used the constitution to challenge the few mining projects that get off the drawing board. Indeed, in 1996, after a toxic chemical spill at a separate, majority Philippine-owned mining venture, environmental lobbyists filed the Supreme Court suit that ultimately derailed the Tampakan project.

    The court's decision dismayed Philippine officials eager to attract foreign capital to stimulate the country's wobbly economy. The central bank said foreign direct investment fell to $US319million ($434 million) in 2003 from $US1.8billion a year earlier, as international investors began shunning the Philippines, partly because of its unpredictable court decisions.

    The government has formally appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider its Tampakan decision. Lawyers say Indophil holds 40 per cent of Sagittarius's equity, which is in line with the constitutional limit for foreign stakes in mining ventures. They also note that the constitution allows foreign financial or technical assistance in developing mineral sites.

    If the court changes its mind, the Philippines' Mines and Geosciences Bureau director, Horacio Ramos, expects a surge of new investment to expand annual mineral production to $US4 billion within several years. That would trail Indonesia; mining contributed about $US18 billion to its economy in 2002. The Philippines annually mines about $US500million of minerals - mainly copper, nickel and chromium.

    Arroyo, elected to a new six-year term in May, recognises that sluggish mining development is a drag on the economy. She recently promised to try to amend the constitution to allow greater foreign participation in capital-intensive industries. But the last president who tried to amend the constitution, Joseph Estrada, faced huge street protests when he tried to rescind legal curbs on foreign investment in 2000.

    Framed after Marcos's fall in 1986, the current constitution was designed to prevent a rise of future dictators. But the constitutional drafting committee also wrote in protectionist economic restrictions.

    Among them: foreign-owned factories can't own the land they are built on, and foreign investors can't own shares in media businesses. In many industries, including mining, foreigners are limited to a 40 per cent equity share.

    Arroyo hasn't set a clear timetable for constitutional change. Some opposition politicians may choose to support her.

    "There are so many things we can make easier for foreign investors, and amending aspects of the constitution is one of them," says Edgardo Angara, a leading opposition lawmaker.

    Investors, too, are concerned.

    "Banks can't fund projects with uncertain ownership, so investors can't get past first base," says Robin Widdup, the managing director of Melbourne-based Lion Selection Group, which has invested in mines around the world, including ventures in the Philippines.

    Not all foreign-funded mining activity has halted in the Philippines. Another Australian company, Lafayette Mining, said last week it had signed a contract to begin work at a combined gold, copper, zinc and silver mining site. It would be the first foreign-funded mine to begin operations in the Philippines since 1968.

    The biggest headache from the mining impasse may belong to the government and its economic managers. Manila has promised compensation to investors hurt by the Supreme Court's decision, something the country's stretched coffers can ill afford.

    Ramos says that if the court upholds its Tampakan decision, it could adversely affect other exploration and production contracts the government has signed. Chief among them is the Malampaya natural-gas project in the South China Sea, developed and operated by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group and ChevronTexaco, which each own 45per cent stakes in the venture. The project provides one-third of the fuel requirement for the Philippines' electric-power generators.

    source: Financial Review

  2. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    ano ba ito...shet.pano ba ito malulutas...

    marami raming pag iisip nanaman ito ng gobyerno

  3. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    di lang yan ang problema... dami natin red tape at kurakot...
    lalo na customs.. nasubukan nyo na ba mag-import at magdaan sa customs?? nakow! grabe.. dami mong dadaanan at lalagyan. kaya di ako nagtataka kung bakit walang gana yung ibang foreign investors pumasok. grabe ang corruption sa customs. sobrang garapal at talamak! :arghhh: :fire:

  4. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    as an employee of a US company that has a presence in the Philippines, i have to say that some of those regulations are ridiculous...i guess that's why all we can do is outsource work to a local company and never actually invest directly

  5. Join Date
    May 2004
    Maski kaninong administration pa ang nandiyan, some things never really change! Corruption and red tape are here to stay! Sana wag naman forever ganito!;) ;)

  6. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Originally posted by rsnald
    di lang yan ang problema... dami natin red tape at kurakot...
    lalo na customs.. nasubukan nyo na ba mag-import at magdaan sa customs?? nakow! grabe.. dami mong dadaanan at lalagyan. kaya di ako nagtataka kung bakit walang gana yung ibang foreign investors pumasok. grabe ang corruption sa customs. sobrang garapal at talamak! :arghhh: :fire:
    Customs ba ang #1 sa corruption sa mga government agencies? Sana pasabugin na lang ang Customs, wala naman silang kuwenta eh.

    Sobrang corrupt talaga nitong mga g*gong ito. May nalalaman pa silang bonded warehouses. Bwiset.

  7. Join Date
    Feb 2003
    customs,bir,dpwh share the top 3 slots.


    ano pa nga ba ang bago?

  8. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    haaay, another one of those head heating topics

  9. Join Date
    Apr 2004
    dalawang tao lang daw sa mundo: nanloloko at nag....etc. etc..

    the ball is in your hands, madam president..suportahan ta ka!!!!

  10. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Originally posted by bardigones
    customs,bir,dpwh share the top 3 slots.


    ano pa nga ba ang bago?
    LTO????? hehehehehehehehehehe

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