The Philippine government has been urged by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Tuesday to have a sit down with the European Parliament after the legislative branch threatened to impose sanctions due to “the deteriorating level of press freedom in the Philippines.”
MAP president Francis Lim said that the country will suffer as unemployment would see a significant increase if the threat becomes a reality.
“We fervently hope that the removal of the GSP [Generalized Scheme of Preferences] preferences by the EU countries will not push through. It will make our products less competitive and will seriously impact on several industries. It will increase the number of the unemployed among our countrymen at the time when they most need jobs,” he said.
He added that the Philippine economy would “suffer more damage, especially given the contraction we are already experiencing with the pandemic.” he said.
“Our government should not take the matter lightly for the sake of our people. We hope it will be discussed and addressed by both parties in a mutually satisfactory manner,” he added.
The EU parliament, due to numerous reports of human rights abuses and attacks on press freedom in the Philippines, ordered a review of the tariff incentives extended to Manila.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration was asked by the EU parliament to give political prisoner Senator Leila de Lima her freedom, drop charges against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, and allow ABS-CBN to commence operations by granting it a broadcast franchise.
The Palace however dared the European Union’s legislative branch to go ahead and revoke tariff incentives.
The Department of Foreign Affairs revealed that talks with other world bodies about the issue is already happening. DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on the other hand tweeted saying that the country was “more important than a small social media outfit, a failed franchise, De Lima avoiding a court trial.”
Working on that w/ Geneva/UNDP/Vienna, other multilats; going w/ technical help not ignorant excoriation. PH is more important than a small social media outfit, a failed franchise, De Lima avoiding a court trial. I will assume that while continuing to deal with EU like an adult. https://t.co/BN5N6gugY8
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) September 22, 2020
The Philippines still has the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, even with the strictest lockdown rules in the world. Its economy in the second quarter shrank to 16.5 percent which caused the current recession.