Duterte extracted benefits from China and US

Second of 3 parts

RATHER than making the Philippines a “province of China” as the ignorant Yellows keep on ranting in their delirium, President Duterte’s rapprochement with the Asian superpower allowed the country to extract benefits from both the Chinese and the US. This is according to a study by entitled “An Analysis of the Philippines’ Policy Shift on the South China Sea Disputes.” Manantan is a research fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan.

Manantan summarized his study: “The Philippines under Duterte is using China as leverage in its alliance with the United States. By exploiting the ‘China card’ and downplaying the arbitration case, the Philippines has extracted concessions from Beijing and Washington. In capitalizing on the Sino-American rivalry, Manila has reaffirmed its strategic value within the US-Philippines alliance while benefiting more visibly from Chinese foreign aid and investment pledges.”

He explained: “The looming competition between the United States and China in the region is a springboard for the Philippines to further push its burden-sharing approach. As the great powers compete for dominance in the region, the Philippines is exploiting the conducive geopolitical environment to pursue its inherent interests. Therefore, the Philippines, under the Duterte government, gained an upper advantage which led to extracting benefits from two competing powers.”

The study continued: “Recognizing that the institutional mechanisms that would otherwise enforce the arbitral ruling are lacking, and that the Philippines’ weak defense capabilities would do little to deter China from pressing its sovereign claims in the South China Sea, the Duterte government has instead resorted to embracing China’s preference for bilateral talks. This has afforded the Philippines the chance to diversify its policy options by normalizing relations with China, and consequently benefiting from bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries.”

Manantan noted that China had immediately and even massively responded positively to Duterte’s extension of the Philippines’ hand in friendship: “Setting aside the South China Sea issue, Duterte’s four-day visit to Beijing from Oct. 18 to 21, 2016, generated deeper economic and diplomatic engagement with China. Duterte attained $24 billion worth of funding and investment pledges, and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez subsequently listed the funding deals: $9 billion for soft loans, including a $3 billion credit line with the Bank of China, and economic investments worth $15 billion. The $9 billion in soft loans were earmarked for development programs, and a $15 million package was designated for drug rehabilitation programs.”


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Scholars praise Duterte’s China policy

First of 2 parts
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot away from his predecessor’s belligerent stance toward China was a tour de force in crisis management, a bold move that stopped what would have been the country’s catastrophic conflict with the Asian superpower — with the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations most likely abandoning us — the latter, who are really our competitors, with hidden glee even.

It was also a stroke of genius in diplomacy in that Duterte’s independent foreign policy extracted benefits for the Philippines not only from China but also the US as the two rival superpowers scrambled to compete for the country’s support.

I am not presenting my opinion or analysis here — although I have drawn similar conclusions in many of my past columns. I am merely presenting the conclusions of two scholars who studied comprehensively the country’s foreign relations with China through the Aquino years to the present, seeing through the propaganda of the pro-American former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario and former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio.

The first study is by Peter Kreuzer, titled “Dealing with China in the South China Sea” published as Report 3/2018 by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, a highly respected think tank and the largest in Germany. It was established in 1970 and focuses on research on international and internal conflicts. Kreuzer is a PhD and a senior researcher at the institute. Kreuzer explains why the arbitration suit has merely provoked the Asian superpower to harden its stance in the South China Sea disputes.

Peace Research Institute Frankfurt: ‘If [Benigno] Aquino [3rd] remained in power, the conflict with China would have escalated, with the Philippines on the losing end.’ Photo: Rodrigo Duterte meets Xi Jinping in Beijing in October 2016.

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Monsod’s biggest, most brazen lie

SOLITA Monsod, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s columnist most emblematic of its politics, last week wrote a column titled “The administration’s biggest, most brazen lie.” It is ironic — even hilarious if not for the seriousness of the topic — that she bases such a declaration on what is clearly, totally, indisputably, inarguably a lie. It is the most shameful, and so far most sickening, of Monsod’s string of Duterte-demonizing pieces.

You don’t even need to do research to immediately suspect that she is lying when she wrote:
“Mr. [Rodrigo] Duterte’s total number of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) issued [sic] by the government: 20,322. That figure appears in the government’s report of accomplishments issued at the end of 2017 and circulated in the media, covering the period July 1, 2016 to Nov. 27, 2017. So, that is only 18 months of Mr. Duterte.”

C’mon, would the government, in this case the Presidential Communications Operations Office which issued that report (and accessible in the internet), report that in its “accomplishments”? If it did, I don’t think its most efficient head, Martin Andanar, would have lasted this long in his post.


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US and West hoard vaccines; China, Russia ship to over 60 countries

SO much for the US and the West’s incessant portrayal, to borrow that old US Cold War warrior Ronald Reagan’s famous term, of Russia and China as the “evil empires.” So much for their declarations that they are champions of globalism and human rights. The pandemic has torn down their mask: for them, it’s every nation for itself, and who cares if millions more of human lives in the poorer part of the world are killed by Covid-19.

When the vaccine has emerged as the world’s best hope to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic that has snuffed out 2.6 million souls so far, the US, the UK and the European Union have cornered and hoarded the vaccines produced within their borders.

If it is for ulterior motives, that is, to prettify their image and project their power, I wouldn’t care: China and Russia have shipped nearly 1 billion doses to over 60 countries, including huge countries hit badly by the pandemic, such as Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and Chile. Most of China’s shipments so far were donations, as in our case.

In fact, the only vaccines we have been able to secure because of the West’s hoarding are 600,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac, and 400,000 of AstraZeneca, made possible by Covax, a global vaccine-sharing facility set up by the World Health Organization and other philanthropic organizations with funding from the world’s richest nations. For the Yellows to claim that the Sinovac donation is in exchange for our giving up our South China Sea claims is nauseatingly stupid.


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Drilon and Robredo’s sickening lies on PH vaccination

I FIND it sickening for the Yellows, especially its eldest stalwart Sen. Franklin Drilon and Vice President Leonor Robredo, to use the Covid-19 pandemic – which should be uniting us all to contain it – to irresponsibly throw mud at the government’s efforts to procure the needed vaccines. 

Drilon in a recent press release “lamented how the Philippines is lagging behind several countries in its Covid-19 vaccination plans, citing that six out of 10 countries in Southeast Asia have already begun their vaccination programs while the Philippines is still scrambling to secure supplies. Among the countries that have started rolling out the jabs are Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, leaving the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand behind.” Robredo similarly claimed that the Philippines is “behind other neighboring  countries” in vaccinating its citizens.

Drilon is lying, or hasn’t bothered to use a centavo of his office’s P100 million annual budget to do a bit of research. As usual, Robredo is clueless about what she is talking about.


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Robredo abandons presidential bid

EIGHT months before the October deadline for the filing of candidacy certificates for the two highest posts of the land, Vice President Leonor Robredo has all but given her up her ambition to be president in 2022.

While still saying – but as an afterthought – that that option is still open, Robredo in the GMA TV show “Mangahas Interviews” last March 5 said she was instead thinking or running as governor or as congressman, or even going back to just lawyering for NGOs. 

Surprisingly, she even disclosed for the first time that she was also considering a post “in the judiciary.” But judges in the Philippines up to Supreme Court are appointed by the president: Is Robredo sending a message to Duterte?

Did she really need to have that portrait beside her?

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Abolish our useless, wasteful post of vice president

The only country to have such

IF there is a silver lining in having a ridiculous, whining Leonor Robredo as vice president for four years, it is the nation’s realization that this post should be abolished as South Korea did in 1960.

We cannot have a vice president opposing every move of the president, saying absolutely nothing good about the country’s elected leader; that is just plain stupid.

We can’t have a vice president telling lies to the world as Robredo has been doing by claiming massive human rights violations in the Philippines. That is treasonous.


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De Lima in prison has spent P400M of taxpayers’ money

THIS is really quite amazing. The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court in February 2017 ordered Sen. Leila de Lima arrested and detained on drug-trafficking charges, with several witnesses fingering her.

Yet as a senator, de Lima has received her full salary and benefits, and spent everything allowed a fully functioning senator since 2017. But other than incessantly ranting against President Rodrigo Duterte and other government agencies on her Facebook account, have you heard any real output from her, a good research study or a bill that became law, even if this were done by her staff, and simply attributed to her?

The P400 million is based on the Senate’s recent report of amounts paid to and expenses for each senator from January to December 2019. For that year, de Lima’s salaries and benefits as well as those of her staff, and other expenses for her office totaled P107 million.


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People Power or cannon fodder?

THIRTY-five years after EDSA 1, only the Yellow Cultists, I-was-there-behind-the-scenes people and those who amassed wealth as part of the two Aquino governments cling to the myth of a glorious People Power in which Light overcame Dark, Democracy defeated Dictatorship.

Rather, there is a consensus that includes even those who had been Corazon “Cory’ Aquino’s true believers, that EDSA 1 merely restored the pre-Marcos oligarchy-ruled republic. It is amazing indeed — and a testament to the power of propaganda — that anything other than that could be expected: the Lopez clan that has been the archetype of the Philippine oligarchy was Cory Aquino’s most visible and powerful supporter. And just a few months after EDSA, it would reopen its old powerful weapons, the Manila Chronicle and ABS-CBN, and retake its old family jewel, Meralco.

The People Power myth wouldn’t have lasted a decade if not for the fact that that there were two more Yellow presidents, the opportunistic Fidel Ramos and Cory’s son, the vacuous Benigno Aquino 3rd. Both won in the country’s two most contested elections.

Which is accurate? Editorial cartoons on Febuary 25, 2021, People Power Day (clockwise): The Manila Times, Philippine Star, Inquirer and Manila Bulletin.

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Carpio scared SC: ‘Without EDCA, China will soon grab our territories’

Second of 3 parts
THIS is a most despicable thing that a Filipino in a position of power has done to justify the violation of the Constitution and to surrender our sovereignty to a foreign superpower.

In the span of two years, the Supreme Court deliberated on several petitions filed in 2014 asking the high court to declare the Aquino 3rd administration’s Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) unconstitutional.

The agreement was signed April 28, 2014, a condition for US President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines. He arrived hours after the treaty was inked. Indeed, the EDCA meant a restoration of US military bases, which the 1987 Constitution categorically required to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. EDCA authorizes the US to stockpile their war materiel and station its combat for-deployment troops in five of our military camps, whenever they wish so.

The Supreme Court led by Aquino 3rd’s chief justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno dragged its feet for two years in making a ruling. When it finally had to decide, then Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has been the most strident Yellow propagandist against China, convinced his colleagues to turn a blind eye to its obvious constitutional requirement of having the Senate ratify it.

He scared the justices out of their wits: if they invalidate the EDCA, China would very soon be grabbing all of our territories in the Spratlys.


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