PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



HEADLINES NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ANALYSIS: WINNERS FROM THE PHILIPPINES-CHINA VISIT
[RELATED: Duterte on China visit: ‘Turning point in our shared history’]
[RELATED(2): Duterte says Pinoy fishermen may return to Panatag in a few days]


OCTOBER 21 -Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. Duterte was meeting Thursday with Xi in Beijing as part of a charm offensive aimed at seeking trade and support from the Asian giant by setting aside a thorny territorial dispute. AP/Ng Han Guan, Pool
 The Philippines is waiting for the outcome of President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to China, which promises to be an important moment for promoting more trade between the two countries. For several years, Chinese direct investments in the Philippines have lagged behind Filipino investments in China, and the Duterte administration has set on a course to correct that imbalance. For its part, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that China could play an “active part in the Philippines’ economic and social development,” in a shift from the political winter between the two countries during the previous Philippine administration. To ensure both sides stay open to improving relations, the government has focused on what could be considered the most promising areas of the Philippines-China relations and quarantined the most difficult parts, such as the two countries’ disputes over the West Philippine Sea. READ MORE..RELATED, Duterte on China visit: ‘Turning point in our shared history’... RELATED(2) Duterte says Pinoy fishermen may return to Panatag in a few days...

ALSO: HOME IN DAVAO FROM CHINA, Rody explains - “Separation” from the United States is “not severance of ties”
[RELATED: PH won’t cut ties with US Duterte: It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship]


OCTOBER 23 -The US is seeking official clarification of Duterte’s announcement made on at least two occasions during his Beijing visit. The White House cited “too many troubling statements” from President Duterte. “You know, you have to take my words in the context of what I have been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. When you say severance of ties you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that, “ the President said. Presidential Photographers Division/King Rodriguez
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “Separation” from the United States is “not severance of ties,” President Duterte pointed out Friday night upon his arrival from Beijing, where he bared his “separation” from the US and his pivot to China and Russia in an announcement that left even his close officials bewildered. The US is seeking official clarification of Duterte’s announcement made on at least two occasions during his Beijing visit. The White House cited “too many troubling statements” from Duterte. “You know, you have to take my words in the context of what I have been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. When you say severance of ties you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that, “ the President said. READ MORE...RELATED,
PH won’t cut ties with US Duterte: It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship...

ALSO: Beijing under no illusion Manila will pivot away from Washington
(Some likened his “separation” from the US to a new social phenomenon in China in which people make use of fake divorces to get round restrictive regulations in order to obtain a second housing loan. Dr. Li Kaisheng from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences noted that while Mr. Duterte wishes to separate from the US, "it merely represents what he really feels.")
[RELATED: Duterte should have asserted PHL territorial rights in China visit, says Gordon]


OCTOBER 22 -China Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. AP
BEIJING—While Beijing has laid out the red carpet for President Rodrigo Duterte this week, and returned the embrace of the Philippine President, it is under no illusion that Manila will pivot away from Washington. China may stand to gain if Duterte breaks away from the US in geopolitical terms, as he said he would on Thursday. But it is fully aware that he does not decide on the Philippines’ foreign policy on his own and will have to go through the political processes domestically, Chinese analysts have said. During his four-day stay in Beijing, Duterte took every opportunity to assert his anti-West stance, especially towards the US. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte should have asserted PHL territorial rights in China visit, says Gordon...

ALSO: US seeks clarification on breakup
[RELATED: UNPREDICTABLE REGIME! Washington should drop defense treaty with PHL —ex-Reagan aide]


OCTOBER 22 -“We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the President meant when he talked about separation from the US. It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications, so we’re going to be seeking a clarification on that,” spokesman John Kirby said. AP/Lai Seng Sin
WASHINGTON – The US State Department is seeking clarification of President Duterte’s announcement that the Philippines is “separating” from the United States. A clarification is needed because Duterte’s pronouncement is inexplicably at odds with the close ties America has with the Filipino people and their government on many different levels, the State Department said. “We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the President meant when he talked about separation from the US. It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications, so we’re going to be seeking a clarification on that,” spokesman John Kirby said. Duterte on a state visit to China said he is cutting military and economic ties with the US and realigning the Philippines with China and Russia in a “triumvirate… against the world.” READ MOR, RELATED,
UNPREDICTABLE REGIME Washington should drop defense treaty with PHL —ex-Reagan aide...

ALSO: Duterte shift to China 'incomprehensible, unwise' says, Del Rosario
[RELATED: Duterte - Separation with US doesn’t mean cutting diplomatic ties]
[RELATED(2): PH shift to China is a 'disaster' for US: report]
[RELATED(3): Yasay - PHL will keep pursuing lawful means amid continued South China Sea disputes


OCTOBER 21 -Ex-DFA Chief Del Rosario: President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to "separate" from the United States and enhance its ties with China is "incomprehensible and unwise," a former foreign affairs official said Friday. "The declared shift away from the US to hastily embrace a neighbor that vehemently rejects international law is both incomprehensible and unwise," former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement. "We must be with nations whose values we share such as democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. To stand otherwise is not what Filipinos are- it is not what we do," he added.READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte explains: Separation with US doesn’t mean cutting diplomatic ties...RELATED(2) PH shift to China is a 'disaster' for US: report...RELATED(3), Yasay - PHL will keep pursuing lawful means amid continued South China Sea disputes

ALSO: Duterte still most trusted PH official–Pulse Asia
[RELATED: DFA Sec Yasay - ‘Little brown brother image’ stunts PHL’s growth, development]
{"And yet, separation from our former colonial master is demanded in pursuing our independent foreign policy. It implies breaking away from the debilitating mindset of dependency and subservience - economically and militarily - that have perpetuated our 'little brown brother' image to America, which has stunted our growth and advancement," Yasay said.)


OCTOBER 21 -President Rodrigo Duterte. MALACAÑANG FILE PHOTO
Most Filipinos approve of the performance of President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, a survey by Pulse Asia showed. The results of the Ulat ng Bayan national survey on the performance and trust ratings of top national government officials, which was released on Friday, showed that Duterte continues to enjoy a high approval rating at 86%. Meanwhile, 66% of the respondents said they approved of Robredo’s performance as vice president, and 61% positively responded to Pimentel’s work as Senate President. The same top officials of the land garnered the highest trust ratings, the survey showed. Eighty six percent of the respondents said they had “big trust” in Duterte. Sixty five percent trusted Robredo, while Pimentelearned a 55% trust rating. READ MORE...RELATED,
 DFA Sec Yasay - ‘Little brown brother image’ stunts PHL’s growth, development...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Analysis: Winners from the Philippines-China state visit


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. Duterte was meeting Thursday with Xi in Beijing as part of a charm offensive aimed at seeking trade and support from the Asian giant by setting aside a thorny territorial dispute. AP/Ng Han Guan, Pool

MANILA, OCTOBER 24, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Dindo Manhit  October 21, 2016 - The Philippines is waiting for the outcome of President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to China, which promises to be an important moment for promoting more trade between the two countries. For several years, Chinese direct investments in the Philippines have lagged behind Filipino investments in China, and the Duterte administration has set on a course to correct that imbalance.

For its part, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that China could play an “active part in the Philippines’ economic and social development,” in a shift from the political winter between the two countries during the previous Philippine administration.

To ensure both sides stay open to improving relations, the government has focused on what could be considered the most promising areas of the Philippines-China relations and quarantined the most difficult parts, such as the two countries’ disputes over the West Philippine Sea.

READ MORE...

SOFT LANDING

China has not budged on its position on the international ruling, but it has welcomed Duterte’s preference for a “soft landing” for both sides. As part of that “soft landing,” Duterte has voiced his appreciation for Chinese support in his signature initiative, the war on drugs.

Thus, although the president has not ruled out the possibility of raising the Philippines’ successful case in The Hague, there is no expectation for concessions on these matters as a result of the visit. Instead, the Department of Foreign Affairs has dusted off its long-ago statements about how the disputes do not comprise the entirety of the Philippines-China relationship.

Fresh investments for the private sector

Perhaps as a concrete sign of both sides’ focus on the overall relationship, the state visit has included a China-Philippines economic and trade forum. The change in relations between the two countries could translate into good news for the Philippines’ business sector, which can take advantage of this thaw to pursue more opportunities with counterparts in China.

By early indications, the president and his business delegation will be bringing home a new package of investment commitments totaling in the billions.

Total trade between the two countries amounted to USD 9.84 billion, jumping by 26 percent from USD 7.8 billion in the same period last year. China is still the country’s largest source of imports, with total imports from the first semester of this year reaching USD 9.72 billion.

Meanwhile, China is only the fourth-largest export destination for the Philippines, behind Japan, the US and Hong Kong; revenue from Philippine exports to China reached only USD 2.7 billion for the first half this year.

"China is only the fourth-largest export destination for the Philippines, behind Japan, the US and Hong Kong."

Two-way trade eclipses the amount of foreign direct investments from China, which as mentioned have trailed behind Philippine investments in China. The total approved foreign investments from China only amounted to PHP 376.9 million for the first semester of 2016, representing a 30 percent drop from the same period last year.

Giving China a chance

While the state visit is an important step, the promise of the Philippines-China economic relationship will be seen over the longer term, when the promises are fulfilled and their benefits are felt by everyday Filipinos.

It will be important to look at the specifics of any Memoranda of Understanding or Agreement signed between the two governments to see the prospects of these agreements. Nevertheless, if the agreements are sound and other deals, such as in infrastructure investments, are put in place, then the benefits could be felt in underserved areas even within the President’s time in office.

Although the effects of China’s commitments are not to be taken for granted, Duterte has done one important thing: give China the chance to show whether it can be a good partner for the country, especially in the long term.

For goodwill to persist between the two governments, China’s companies investing in the Philippines should take care to avoid the kinds of corruption scandals that have sullied the country’s reputation in the past, to include the failed ZTE-NBN project during the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

This is particularly important for any cooperation in support of the National Broadband Plan, which is being revived by this administration in order to ensure better connectivity for Filipinos nationwide.

"Duterte has done one important thing: give China the chance to show whether it can be a good partner for the country, especially in the long term."

Lifting suspensions and warnings In advance of the president’s visit, China also lifted its suspension on Philippine bananas, which had been handed down in 2012 for exporters’ alleged lack of compliance with phyto-sanitary standards.

SUSPENSION BAN

The persistence of the ban had been linked to the chilly atmosphere between the two countries—with China reportedly lowering the number of bananas it would import from the Philippines right after the favorable ruling from The Hague in July.

"The lifting of the suspension will be good for Filipino banana growers, and they and other growers in the agricultural sector could also benefit from increased interest from China in Philippine crops."

At this time, Filipino exporters can also take advantage of the expected weakening of the peso over the coming months to send their more-attractive goods to the opening Chinese market.

The lifting of the suspension will be good for Filipino banana growers and other growers in the agricultural sector could also benefit from increased interest from China in Philippine crops. Part and parcel of the warming trend, China’s ambassador announced that the travel advisory against the Philippines will be lifted while Duterte is in China. After the warning was raised in 2014, the Department of Tourism reported a decrease in the number of Chinese tourists to the Philippines; by reversing the advisory, the tourism industry nationwide could also see some benefits from an influx in visitors.

Conclusion

There are a number of positive and possible developments in the Philippines-China relationship.

As Duterte and his team seek to warm up the bilateral relationship, promoting trade and investments could be one way to ensure that both countries experience concrete benefits to their new political understanding.

At the same time, Filipinos would do well to proceed with some caution and not yet plan for the long term on this relationship.

At present, China’s overtures to the Philippines appear to be political reversals of similarly political decisions it made during the last administration. In this situation, it can be easy-come, easy-go.


Dindo Manhit is the president of Stratbase-Albert Del Rosario Institute (ADRi) for Strategic and International Studies.

------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte on China visit: ‘Turning point in our shared history’ By: Leila B. Salaverria / @LeilasINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:47 AM October 22, 2016


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. Duterte was meeting Thursday with Xi in Beijing as part of a charm offensive aimed at seeking trade and support from the Asian giant by setting aside a thorny territorial dispute. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, Pool)

“My state visit to China signaled a turning point in our shared history and showed that both countries are fully capable of working together for mutual beneficial cooperation even as we remain committed to settle disputes peacefully, in full adherence of international law,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in a brief address he gave in Davao City, shortly after he came home from a four-day state visit to China.

With normal ties between the Philippines and China resumed, he said, the two countries agreed to resolve disputes peacefully and to start regular bilateral consultation mechanisms, which had been put on hold for several years.

The bilateral consultations, he said, would cover issues concerning the South China Sea, Mr. Duterte said.

“We also agreed to continue discussions on confidence-building measures, including a bilateral consultation mechanism to discuss immediate issues of concern in South China Sea,” he added.

The two countries also recognized security and stability as necessary conditions for growth and affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and freedom of navigation and overflight in South China Sea.

They also forged an agreement between their coast guards to minimize incidents at sea.

Chinese aid in war against illegal drugs

On the battle against illegal drugs, Mr. Duterte said China would be involved in capacity-building, equipment upgrading and support for rehabilitation purposes.

He also boasted of the public financing and business deals forged during his visit to China, valued at $24 billion in soft loans.

He said these agreements would generate two million jobs for Filipinos in the next five years.

RELATED STORIES

Duterte comes home from ‘productive’ China trip

Duterte: Separation with US doesn’t mean cutting diplomatic ties

PH, China restart talks on sea row

------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte says Pinoy fishermen may return to Panatag in a few days By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated October 23, 2016 - 6:45pm 9 51 googleplus0 0


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. Duterte was meeting Thursday with Xi in Beijing as part of a charm offensive aimed at seeking trade and support from the Asian giant by setting aside a thorny territorial dispute. AP/Ng Han Guan, Pool

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos may soon be allowed to fish again at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal “in a few days,” President Rodrigo Duterte said, as he stressed that he would not waste the lives of soldiers for the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) row.

“We’ll just wait for a few more days. We may be able to return to the Scarborough Shoal and our countrymen may be able to fish there again,” the president said during his visit to typhoon victims in Tuguegarao Sunday.

Duterte said the Panatag Shoal issue was discussed during his four-day visit to China last week. His statement seemed to have contradicted that of China Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, who said Duterte and China President Xi Jinping did not mention the matter during their meeting. Liu merely said that the two leaders have agreed to strengthen fishery cooperation in the West Philippine Sea.

PANATAG, FISHING LAGOON

Duterte said he also talked about the fishing in the shoal’s lagoon, the breeding ground of marine species, during his meeting with a Chinese leader, whom he did not name. He met with Xi, China Premier Li Keqiang and National People's Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang during the state visit.

“Those are really lagoons in the oceans and they are fish spawning grounds. That is the place where fishes give birth and small fishes stay there when they are not ready to go out into the ocean,” Duterte said.

“I said when we return to the Scarborough Shoal as owner, although they (China) also claim to be its owner, I told them not to fish there (in the lagoon). That was my appeal so we can have a good supply,” he added.

“I think, he (Chinese leader) already asked the Chinese fishermen to leave. That was what we discussed but I don’t know if they would comply with it.”

Duterte noted that a steady supply of marine products is necessary as the population of the Philippines is growing.

“The cheapest thing that they can buy today, is the marine product. So it behooves upon us to really not to gamble and destroy these spawning grounds because then it would result in imbalance in our food supply,” the Philippine leader said.

CHINA CLAIMS HISTORIC RIGHTS

China claims historic rights over the shoal even if the traditional fishing ground is well within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. The shoal, located 124 nautical miles from Zambales, lies within China’s nine-dash line claim, which covers about 90 percent of the South China Sea.

Chinese occupation of the shoal started on April 10, 2012, when Chinese surveillance ships blocked a Philippine Navy vessel that was chasing Chinese poachers. The Chinese Coast Guard has since maintained its presence in the area, displacing Filipino fishermen who could not go near the shoal for fear of being harassed.

Last July, the Philippines scored a victory in the dispute when an arbitral court in the Hague ruled that China’s nine-dash line has no legal basis.

The court said China had also violated its duty to respect the traditional fishing rights of Filipinos when it barred them from entering the Panatag Shoal in 2012. China refuses to recognize the court’s decision, calling it a “mere piece of paper” and “illegal since day one.” ‘We will continue to talk’ Duterte said he mentioned the arbitral court during his meeting with a Chinese leader, who insisted that China has historical rights over the shoal.

“I said we won but he said it (shoal) is ours historically and we won’t give it up,” Duterte said.

“I told him we won’t pick a fight. No solutions will emerge when we kill each other,” he added.

RESOLUTION WILL TAKE TIME

Duterte said the resolution of the dispute may take time.

“One day in the future, we will talk about this. We can’t leave this hanging. One day, I will say we won’t go beyond this document, which states that we won (the case),” he said.

“I will not insist now. I will not impose now. I will not go to war now. I will not waste the lives of my soldiers.”

Duterte noted that security forces do not have enough equipment to go to war. He said the Philippines only has FA-50 jets that do not have rockets.

“How do you declare a war? In five minutes, their planes can reach Manila. Our airplanes may explode after takeoff,” the president said.


PHILSTAR

HOME IN DAVAO FROM CHINA: “Separation” from the United States is “not severance of ties,” DU30 explains  By Edith Regalado and Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 23, 2016 - 12:00am 2 7 googleplus1 1


The US is seeking official clarification of Duterte’s announcement made on at least two occasions during his Beijing visit. The White House cited “too many troubling statements” from President Duterte. “You know, you have to take my words in the context of what I have been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. When you say severance of ties you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that, “ the President said. Presidential Photographers Division/King Rodriguez

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “Separation” from the United States is “not severance of ties,” President Duterte pointed out Friday night upon his arrival from Beijing, where he bared his “separation” from the US and his pivot to China and Russia in an announcement that left even his close officials bewildered.

The US is seeking official clarification of Duterte’s announcement made on at least two occasions during his Beijing visit. The White House cited “too many troubling statements” from Duterte.

“You know, you have to take my words in the context of what I have been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. When you say severance of ties you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that, “ the President said.

READ MORE...

He ended his four-day state visit to China last Friday. He was in Brunei before his Beijing visit.

“We’ve seen too many troubling public statements from President Duterte over the last several months,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily press briefing.

“And the frequency of that rhetoric has added an element of unnecessary uncertainty into our relationship that doesn’t advance the interests of either country.”

Duterte said it is in the best interest of the country that it keeps its diplomatic relations with the US.

“Separation of my foreign policy, that it need not dovetail the foreign policy of America. That’s what I meant actually,” he explained.

“Sever means to cut. Separate is just to chart another way of doing it,” he added.

He admitted cutting the country’s ties with the US is something many Filipinos are not ready to accept.

He also cited the large number of Filipinos living and working in the US, a former colonizer and currently the Philippines’ biggest trading partner.

The President said he is mindful of the economic implications of cutting ties with the US.

“That’s why better be careful with the word ‘we separate or severed, severed our diplomatic relations.’ Second one is not feasible. Why? Because the Filipinos in the United States will kill me,” the President said.

He added the Americans – especially those in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry – have as much to worry about as the Filipinos in the event of severance of ties between the US and the Philippines.

“How about the Americans working for, here also in the Philippines? If I should worry about the Filipinos, they should also about the Americans here and their investments,” the President said.

“I said ‘separation’ – what I was really saying was separation of a foreign policy,” the President said.

He also said he may have to consult with the military and the police on how to deal with existing agreements with the US, including the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

“I worry that they would not get out of this country, that you have to force them. That is my worry. Why should I be worried? It will affect EDCA and the rest of the agreements? Maybe. But I would have to consult the military, the police and everybody because at the end of the day, it is all security,” the President said.

The country’s military relationship with the US is contained in the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

Duterte stressed it’s now time for Filipinos to chart their own destiny and not just take a “cue” from the US or follow its dictates.

VEERING TOWARDS CHINA AND RUSSIA

Duterte also defended his decision to veer towards China and Russia.

“It could be a military alliance. It could be an economic alliance. It could be an economic bloc,” he explained.

Asked by an American journalist whom he would choose if he were to vote in the coming US elections, Duterte said he would rather not make “unnecessary comments” but cited “splendid relations with America and the fact that there are already millions of Filipinos, maybe, in your country.”

He also admitted looking up to Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a hero.

Erap backing

For Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Duterte was right about raising the issue of US interference in the Philippines’ “internal affairs.”

In a telephone interview with The STAR, Estrada also called on Filipinos to support the President’s war on drugs, despite criticisms from the US and other Western nations.

“The Philippines is a sovereign country. The US should not interfere with the purely internal affairs of the Philippines, particularly on President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs,” Estrada said.

He recalled that when he was president, the US tried to meddle in his all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Estrada stressed it’s the President’s duty to prevent the country from becoming a narco-state where drug lords dictate on officials.

“What will happen if all the elected officials like governors, congressmen, mayors and others are funded by drug lords? What will happen if we will allow narco-politics to reign in the country? These officials will be beholden to the drug lords and they will just say, ‘yes sir, yes sir,’ to all their orders and interest,” Estrada said.

“All peace-loving Filipinos should throw their all-out support to the campaign of the President against illegal drugs. Not because the US is helping us, we will just allow it to interfere in our internal affairs. We are a sovereign country. We have our own Constitution. The President is right with what he is doing,” the mayor said.

In a statement released by the Manila Public Information Office (PIO), Estrada voiced his support for Duterte’s veering toward China. Unlike the US, China has never interfered in Philippine affairs, the former president said.

The Manila PIO also recounted Estrada’s being dissuaded by then US Defense Secretary William Cohen from launching an all-out war against the MILF.

Estrada successfully took over 46 camps of the MILF, including its biggest, Camp Abubakkar. He said succeeding administrations stopped the offensive and allowed the Muslim rebel group to consolidate its forces. With Jose Rodel Clapano

-----------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

PH won’t cut ties with US Duterte: It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship by Elena L. Aben October 23, 2016 Share14 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share20


Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada backed President Duterte’s “separation” from the US, saying “it is high time the US government be stopped from its meddling with the country’s internal affairs.” “Tama naman ginagawa ni Pangulong Duterte, bakit sila nakikiaalam (President Duterte’s decision is right, why are they meddling in our internal affairs)?” Estrada said.

President Duterte is not severing the Philippines’ diplomatic ties with the United States, stressing that maintaining the relationship is to the best interest of the country.

The Chief Executive made this clarification yesterday, after declaring his “separation” from the US during his four-day state visit to China.

In his impromptu remarks at the Philippine-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, last Thursday, Duterte declared: “In this venue, I announce my separation from the United States, both in military, not social… but economics also.” The remark drew applause from the crowd.

But in a news conference shortly after his arrival at the Davao International Airport, Duterte emphasized that it’s “not severance of ties,” but a “separation of foreign policy.”

“You have to take my words in the context of what I’ve been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. When you say ‘severance of ties’, you cut the diplomatic ties. I cannot do that. Why? It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship,” he told reporters.

‘Pinoys in US will kill me’

Duterte noted that there are many Filipinos in the United States, including Americans of Filipino ancestry. Thus, the second one (severance of ties) is not feasible. “Why? The Filipinos in the United States will kill me,” he said.

And so, he explained that what he was really saying was “separation of his foreign policy, that it need not dovetail the foreign policy of America.”

“That’s what I meant actually… Sever is to cut. Separate is just to chart another way of doing it,” stressed Duterte.

“In the past and until I became President, we always follow what the United States would give the cue… Pa-sunod-sunod tayo. ’Di ako magsunod,” he further stated.

“It is breaking away from the perpetual little-brown-brother image of the Americans that has impeded our capability to stand on our own feet in addressing the urgent and complex domestic problems and foreign issues and pursuing our national interests without undue outside interference,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in a mobile-phone message yesterday, in response to a request for further comment on Duterte’s message.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s remarks restate his position on “charting an independent foreign policy.”

Nevertheless, Duterte launched another tirade against the United States for criticizing his war on crime, which has left more than 3,600 people dead and raised fears about extrajudicial killings.

On concerns that his pronouncement could affect existing deals like the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the President said: “Maybe.”

He added though that he has to consult the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and everybody “because at the end of the day it is all (about) security.”

Another tirade

Duterte also said he did not care if the United States or the European Union cut their foreign aid to the Philippines, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, over concerns about human rights abuses in his war on crime.

“Assistance, USAID, you can go to hell,” he said, referring to the US government’s overseas economic and development assistance organization.

When asked if Filipinos working for US business process outsourcing (BPO) companies should worry about the economic impact of his pronouncement, the President replied: “How about the Americans working here also in the Philippines? If I should worry about the Filipinos, they should (worry) about the Americans here and their investments and all.”

Duterte also said that he will never go to the US, “not in this lifetime.”

And while he has frankly expressed his dislike toward the US, Duterte praised Russia, which he said is “ready to extend any and all assistance.”

“I would like to thank Russia for understanding us, my problem. And they know also how hard I am in dealing with the economic stress of my country. And for them it was a very nice human gesture. To the Russian Republic, salamat po,” the President said.

US officials on Friday said they will seek clarification on Duterte’s statement about “separation” from the US, which they said is “inexplicably at odds with the very close relationship that America has have with the Filipino people as well as the Philippine government on many different levels – not just from a security perspective.”

The President’s “separation” statement, they said, is creating “unnecessary uncertainty.”

But despite what they described as Duterte’s “troubling rhetoric”, the US officials reiterated that the US will continue to honor its alliance commitments and treaty obligations, as they also expect the Philippines to do the same.

US campaign trail

The US-Philippine ties also got attention on the US presidential campaign trail Friday.

Republican candidate Donald Trump told a rally in North Carolina that the Philippines is a “very important strategic ally” and China and Russia “are probably going to take it.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has not addressed the turmoil between Manila and Washington since last month, when she said Obama was right to cancel a meeting with Duterte after he had unleashed a profanity-laden diatribe against Obama. But a senior official in the Clinton campaign said she shared the White House’s concerns about the Philippine leader’s latest statements.

If anything, a rift would be even more personal for Clinton than for Obama. As secretary of state, she laid the groundwork for President Obama’s focus on Asia and, in particular, his reassertion of the US presence in Southeast Asia. In 2011, she stood on the deck of a Navy warship in Manila Bay to dramatize support for an ally then entangled in territorial disputes with China over reefs and islands in the South China Sea.

A year earlier, Clinton thrust the United States into this long-running conflict, saying the United States had a stake in seeing these disputes resolved in a way that guaranteed American ships freedom of navigation through the South China Sea’s busy shipping lanes.

It was one of her first big initiatives as secretary of state. She kept raising it with the Chinese throughout her time at the State Department, and she said later that she viewed the South China Sea as a litmus test in a broader geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China.

‘National tragedy’

In Manila, former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario has described President Duterte’s foreign policy shift in favor of China as a “national tragedy.”

“The declared shift in foreign policy casting aside a long time reliable ally to hastily embrace an aggressive neighbor that vehemently rejects international law is both unwise and incomprehensible,” Del Rosario said in a statement.

“We must be with responsible nations with whom we share our core values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. To stand otherwise, is not what Filipinos are; it is not what we do; it is not what is right,” the country’s former top diplomat said.

“What is unfolding before us must be considered a national tragedy which does not need to happen,” Del Rosario continued, as he expressed hope “that this most unfortunate declaration will be corrected.”

Del Rosario issued the statement after the President announced in Beijing his “separation” from the US.

Estrada backs Duterte

Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada backed President Duterte’s “separation” from the US, saying “it is high time the US government be stopped from its meddling with the country’s internal affairs.”

“Tama naman ginagawa ni Pangulong Duterte, bakit sila nakikiaalam (President Duterte’s decision is right, why are they meddling in our internal affairs)?” Estrada said.

“Di komo tinutulungan tayo ng US, papakialaman naman nila internal problems natin (Just because they are helping us, they will meddle in our internal problems). We are a sovereign country. We have our own Constitution,” Estrada added.

Moreover, Estrada is confident on the President’s move to realign the Philippines with China, because “they will not intervene in our issues, in our independence.”

But Estrada said Duterte’s unpopular pronouncements might have severe consequences, such as his possible removal from office similar to what he had experienced in 2001.

When he was President, Estrada recalled that the US government would always try to coax him into doing what they want, according to their interests.

He recounted that when he was waging war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2000, then US Defense Secretary William Cohen sent him a letter asking him to stop the military offensive.

“’Yung laban ko nu’n sa MILF, pinakialaman ako, pinatitigil ako (They meddled and stopped me during my war against the MILF),” Estrada recalled.

Estrada said he understands where Duterte is coming from when he announced the country’s “separation” from the US.

He stressed it was a difficult decision for the President, one that might expose him to political risks such as the US helping to oust him from office.

“Yun ang pangamba ko, sa ‘kin nga ginawa, e (That’s what worries me, because they also did it to me),” Estrada said. (With reports from Bloomberg, AFP, AP, NYT, and Betheena Kae Unite)


INQUIRER

Beijing under no illusion Manila will pivot away from Washington Straits Times/Asia News Network / 12:07 PM October 22, 2016


China Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. AP

BEIJING—While Beijing has laid out the red carpet for President Rodrigo Duterte this week, and returned the embrace of the Philippine President, it is under no illusion that Manila will pivot away from Washington.

China may stand to gain if Duterte breaks away from the US in geopolitical terms, as he said he would on Thursday. But it is fully aware that he does not decide on the Philippines’ foreign policy on his own and will have to go through the political processes domestically, Chinese analysts have said.

During his four-day stay in Beijing, Duterte took every opportunity to assert his anti-West stance, especially towards the US.

READ MORE...

The 71-year-old leader went as far as to proclaim his “separation from the United States” in both military and economic terms at a business forum in Beijing on Thursday. He showered praise on the country and its people, and announced that “Duterte of the Philippines is veering towards China because China has the character of an Oriental. It does not go around insulting people”.

READ: Duterte announces military, economic split with US

While Beijing laid out full honors for Duterte, in a reception seldom accorded to regional leaders, Chinese media and officials have been silent on his effusive praise of the Chinese and his declaration of separation from the US.

Chinese netizens, displaying some skepticism, said he was making these remarks to extract benefits from China, such as soft loans.

READ: China trip bags $24-B deals

Some likened his “separation” from the US to a new social phenomenon in China in which people make use of fake divorces to get round restrictive regulations in order to obtain a second housing loan.

Dr. Li Kaisheng from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences noted that while Mr. Duterte wishes to separate from the US, what it really means is unclear. “This is not the first time Mr. Duterte has said this, and it merely represents what he really feels.” But it is hard to say if this will be translated into actual policies, he said.

“On the one hand, it may be good for Beijing given that the US has been using the Philippines to contain China in the region,” said Dr. Li.

On the flip side, if Mr. Duterte gets toppled as a result of soured US-Philippine ties, Beijing may stand to lose even more given that Sino-Philippine relations are only starting to improve, he added.

Noting that there had been no reaction from Chinese officials so far to Mr. Duterte’s remarks, he said he did not expect them to respond.

Beijing-based analyst Zha Wen said China does not expect Manila to break its long-time alliance with Washington. “We should not take a zero-sum view on these relationships,” said Dr. Zha from China Foreign Affairs University.

What Beijing wants is for bilateral relations to improve and for Manila to conduct a more balanced foreign policy, she added.

Agreeing, Dr. Li said the agreements and loans signed should not be viewed as carrots to support Manila’s break from Washington.

Beijing has responded to Mr. Duterte’s friendly overtures with a lavish welcome that shows a high level of goodwill and respect.

Notably, he was given access to four of the seven members of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee: President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, top legislator Zhang Dejiang and top-ranking Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli. In return, Beijing has achieved its goal of diffusing tensions in the South China Sea by reaching an agreement with Manila to resume bilateral talks on their territorial disputes.

This could signal to other countries that in handling conflicts with China, it is best to put aside disputes and focus on cooperation, said Dr. Xu Liping, an Asean researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “It is unrealistic to expect China to compromise, and as a big country, it has the ability to give you a lot of benefits,” he added.

------------------------

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte should have asserted PHL territorial rights in China visit, says Gordon Published October 20, 2016 2:36pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte should have asserted the Philippines’ territorial rights in the West Philippine Sea during his trip to China, Senator Richard Gordon said Thursday.

“I will leave it to the judgment of the President but that’s dangerous because anytime you have a claim, you must assert it,” Gordon told reporters in an interview.

“You can assert it in a friendly manner, pag-usapan ‘eh kung magkaibigan tayo, bakit hindi natin pagusapan yan?” he added.

The senator said the Philippines and China can always “agree to disagree.”

“Sayang, naghihinayang ako. Dapat i-bring up ‘yun. Kung ako ang presidente, ibi-bring ko ‘yun in a firm, purposeful, fair manner. But I will tell them we’re friends,” Gordon said.

A Reuters report earlier said Chinese President Xi Jinping and Duterte met Thursday in an expanded bilateral meeting, where Xi said that China and the Philippines could “appropriately handle disputes.”

Xi, however, did not specifically referred to the South China Sea, parts of which Manila refers to the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte earlier said that he will bring up the maritime dispute issue with Xi only if the latter raises it during their meeting.

In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case against China over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. China has since said that it will not recognize the ruling.

Duterte’s four-day state visit to China will conclude on October 21.

Ground for impeachment

Meanwhile, Gordon said he agrees with the position of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that giving up the country’s sovereignty over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal could be a ground to impeach Duterte.

Gordon, however, said that he was not for impeachment “right now.”

“I don’t think he can be impeached right away because call niya ‘yun eh. Siya ang political officer ng bayan,” Gordon said.

“Siya [ang gumagawa] ng policy pero it is also incumbent upon us in the Senate na payuhan bilang kaibigan na sabihin sa kanya na ‘boss, wag ka magalit pero mali yung ginagawa mo’,” he added. — RSJ, GMA News


PHILSTAR

US seeks clarification on breakup By Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington bureau (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 22, 2016 - 12:00am 21 823 googleplus0 0


“We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the President meant when he talked about separation from the US. It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications, so we’re going to be seeking a clarification on that,” spokesman John Kirby said. AP/Lai Seng Sin

WASHINGTON – The US State Department is seeking clarification of President Duterte’s announcement that the Philippines is “separating” from the United States.

A clarification is needed because Duterte’s pronouncement is inexplicably at odds with the close ties America has with the Filipino people and their government on many different levels, the State Department said.

“We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the President meant when he talked about separation from the US. It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications, so we’re going to be seeking a clarification on that,” spokesman John Kirby said.

Duterte on a state visit to China said he is cutting military and economic ties with the US and realigning the Philippines with China and Russia in a “triumvirate… against the world.”

READ MORE...

Kirby said Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel will be in Manila tomorrow until Monday for talks with Filipino officials to “try to figure out exactly what this means.”

He said Russel’s trip had been arranged long in advance and not as a result of the latest developments, “but it does give us an opportunity in the context of these (Duterte’s) comments to try to get a better explanation of what was meant by ‘separation’ and where that’s going.”

It is not just the US that is baffled by Duterte’s rhetoric, Kirby said.

“We have heard from many of our friends and partners in the region who are likewise confused about where this is going, and who we also believe are trying to learn more on their own about what it portends,” he said. He declined to identify them.

Kirby said the US welcomed a closer relationship between the Philippines and China and “I would have every expectation that such a bilateral discussion and relationship would include what’s going on in the South China Sea.”

“If that is, in fact, what President Duterte is seeking, we don’t see that as a threat, we don’t see that as unwelcome, we don’t see that as counterproductive. Actually quite the opposite; we think that improved relations between him and his neighbors, be that China or other countries, are all to the good, all to the good for stability in the region,” he said.

“To bluntly answer your question, we have not received any official request from Philippine officials to alter any of our many issues where we bilaterally cooperate,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said when asked how the Philippines’ realignment with China would affect the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) agreement with the US.

Referring to disputes in the South China Sea, he said, “Our view is that these disputes need to be handled through multilateral adjudications according to rules based on international norms.

“So there are certain principles at stake here which we adhere to, we expect other countries to adhere to. And that’s going to be our policy moving forward,” he said.

Uncertainty

In Manila, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg also sought clarification on Duterte’s statement. “We’re going through a period of uncertainty that we need to figure out,” he said.

“We need clarifications about what the President has said while he was in China. Quite frankly, I don’t know what he means by separation. I don’t know what he means by economic separation either. Our two economies, like the world economy, are very much linked,” Goldberg said in an interview on GMA’s “Unang Hirit.”

Despite the President’s announcement, he said the US wants to continue the relationship to which Washington is firmly committed. He added the US does not see its relations with Manila headed to a “divorce.”

“I don’t know what the process is. I don’t know what the goal and objective is. All I know is what I hear and not what I see because what I see is that we’re still working very much,” Goldberg said.

US embassy press attaché Molly Koscina, for her part, said Duterte’s statements were creating uncertainty.

“We’ve seen a lot of this sort of troubling rhetoric recently which is inexplicably at odds with the warm relationship that exists between the Filipino and American people and the record of important cooperation between our two governments,” she told Reuters in an email.

“We have yet to hear from the Philippine government what Duterte’s remarks on ‘separation’ might mean, but it is creating unnecessary uncertainty.”

She also said the US would honor alliance commitments and treaty obligations with the Philippines. “And, of course, we expect the Philippines to do the same,” she said.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims to land features in the South China Sea, most of which China claims.

Rodney Jaleco, editor of the US-based Manila Mail, wondered if Duterte understood he could be imperiling economic support for the Philippines with his anti-American stance.

Jaleco said the US is the second biggest buyer of Philippine goods and four million Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the US account for one-third to one-half of yearly dollar remittances to their homeland. – Pia Lee-Brago

--------------------------

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

UNPREDICTABLE REGIME Washington should drop defense treaty with PHL —ex-Reagan aide Published October 22, 2016 8:48pm By JESSICA BARTOLOME, GMA News


Washington should drop defense treaty with PHL —ex-Reagan aide

A former aide to former President Ronald Reagan has suggested that Washington drop the mutual defense treaty and joint patrols with the Philippines due to President Rodrigo Duterte's "ostentatious disrespect."

In an opinion piece published by the New York Times on October 18, Doug Bandow stressed that "the Philippines needs America more than America needs the Philippines."

Bandow was a special assistant to President Reagan, and senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

"America is a curious great power. It cowers before international lightweights, begging the least significant nations to let it defend them. Such as the Philippines," he said in his opinioin piece.

"United States credibility suffers when a nation long subsidized and defended by America shows such ostentatious disrespect. The Philippine president shouldn’t be treated like a co-equal and ally if he doesn’t behave like one," Bandow added. "Rather, Manila expects Washington’s protection even though the archipelago matters little for the United States."

The Philippines and the US are treaty allies, having signed a mutual defense treaty in 1951 and the Visiting Forces Agreement in 1998.

The US and the Philippines has also signed the Enhanced Cooperation and Defense Agreement, which is intended to bolster the two countries' alliance.

Duterte had said that the military exercises earlier this month between the Philippines and US would be the last under his six-year term.

Not worth the risk

In his piece, Bandow painted the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the US as an unequally beneficial one.

He highlighted the Philippines' lack of defense capabilities, saying that the country "relies on American support rather than its own military in confronting China."

While base access helps the US "attempt to enforce its will," Bandow does not think it is worth the risk of war.

He said that it was not too much of a blow to the US when their military bases in Subic Bay and Clark Airfield were closed in 1992.

"Maintaining base access is good insurance but does not require a security guarantee, especially over contested territory, such as Scarborough Shoal. Moreover, such access is not worth paying any price: America lost no influence when Subic Bay and Clark Airfield closed decades ago," Bandow said.

As it continues to insist on defending the Philippines, he said the US can easily be dragged into war over the South China Sea disputes.

"Washington must decide what kind of risk it is willing to take on behalf of what remain primarily other nations’ territorial interests," Bandow wrote.

"President Duterte is not a reliable ally. The United States should not allow such an unpredictable regime to be a trigger for war," he added. —ALG, GMA News


ABS-CBN

Duterte shift to China 'incomprehensible, unwise': Del Rosario ABS-CBN News Posted at Oct 21 2016 11:33 AM | Updated as of Oct 21 2016 11:58 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to "separate" from the United States and enhance its ties with China is "incomprehensible and unwise," a former foreign affairs official said Friday.

"The declared shift away from the US to hastily embrace a neighbor that vehemently rejects international law is both incomprehensible and unwise," former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement.

"We must be with nations whose values we share such as democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. To stand otherwise is not what Filipinos are- it is not what we do," he added.

READ MORE...

Duterte, in Beijing for a state visit, announced Thursday his "separation" from the United States following a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

"I, in this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States both in military -- not in social -- both in military but economic," Duterte said, drawing applause from the crowd.

READ: While in China, Duterte announces 'separation' from US

Apart from hoping to strengthen ties with China, Duterte said he will also talk to Russia's Vladimir Putin.

"I've realigned myself in your [China] ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," he said.

READ: Duterte: It's Russia, China, PH 'against the world'



Former President Benigno Aquino III had thrown a wrench into the improving relations between China and the Philippines with his trademark snobbery, President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday. In a speech at the inauguration of a power plant in Misamis Oriental Thursday (Sept. 22), Duterte said the Philippines was supposed to ink a joint venture with China before Aquino took office in 2010. “We have this scientific, you know, it was supposed to be—actually it was just a legalese, [talkaties?] lang ‘yun in a diplomatic way to really—towards a joint venture,” he said. “Nung umakyat si Aquino tinabla niya so kaya galit ang China. Galit talaga sa kanya,” the President added. POLITICS.COM.PH

This is a dramatic shift of foreign policy under the Duterte administration from that pursued by predecessor Benigno Aquino III, under whom Del Rosario served.

Manila in 2014 took Beijing to an arbitral tribunal over territorial claims in the South China Sea, and won the case in July this year.

China had repeatedly said it will not recognize the ruling, and Duterte, who took office weeks before the decision was out, has said he will not flaunt the outcome.

Duterte had also emphasized in several occasions that he is fed up with Western agenda dictating the country's foreign policy.
On Wednesday, he announced that it was "time to say goodbye" to the US.

"Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend," he said.

"What kept us from China was not our own making. I will charter a new course," he added.

---------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte explains: Separation with US doesn’t mean cutting diplomatic ties By: Leila B. Salaveria / @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:02 AM October 22, 2016


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a newsconference in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Duterte's effusive message of friendship on his visit to Beijing this week has handed China a public relations bonanza just three months after Beijing suffered a humiliating defeat by an international tribunal. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Separation with the United States would not mean severing diplomatic ties with it, as this would not be good for Filipinos, President Rodrigo Duterte at a news conference he gave shortly after arriving late Friday night from his four-day state visit to China.

Mr. Duterte said his words should be taken in the context of what he has been saying all along.
When he mentioned separation, during an address he gave during his China trip, what he was saying was “separation of a foreign policy,” he said.

“It’s not severance of ties,” he said during the question-and-answer part after his brief coming-home address.” When you say severance of ties, you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that. Why? It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship.”

He noted that there are many Filipinos in the US and Americans of Filipino ancestry. So it would not be feasible to severe diplomatic ties with the US.

“Why? The Filipinos in the Unites States will kill me,” he said.

In the past, he noted, they had always followed the cue of the US cue. But this time, he said, he was taking a different tack.

As to whether his announcement would affect the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and other agreements with the US, he said, “maybe.”

“But I have to consult the military and the police and everybody, because at the end of the day, it is all security,” he said.

Mr. Duterte came home late Friday night from his four-day state visit to China, which he said turned out to be “productive.”

RELATED STORIES

Duterte comes home from ‘productive’ China trip

‘Separation’ anxiety in Congress

Cabinet members scramble to interpret Duterte’s words

-------------------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM ABS-CBN

PH shift to China is a 'potential disaster' for US: report ABS-CBN News Posted at Oct 21 2016 03:43 PM | Updated as of Oct 21 2016 04:49 PM


A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and China's President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. Thomas Peter, Reuters

MANILA - The United States is looking at a "potential disaster" following President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement that he will be shifting the Philippines' alliance to China, a report said.

"From the American viewpoint, Duterte’s flip-flop — assuming it leads to a lasting strategic shift — is a potential disaster," an opinion piece published on the US-based Foreign Policy said Thursday.

"The Philippines has seen a vertigo-inducing change in its foreign-policy orientation since Rodrigo Duterte became president this summer. This crude populist is now transforming the Philippines’ relationship with the United States in a fundamental and worrying manner," it said.

While on a state visit in China, Duterte announced his "separation" from the US, reiterating his disdain for the Western agenda.

With this break, America will find it hard to counter Beijing's moves in the South China and East China seas, according to the article authored by Council on Foreign Relations senior Fellow Max Boot.

"If the Philippines becomes a Chinese satrapy, by contrast, Washington will find itself hard-pressed to hold the 'first island chain' in the Western Pacific that encompasses the Japanese archipelago, the Ryukyus, Taiwan and the Philippine archipelago," it said.

"Defending that line of island barriers has been a linchpin of US strategy since the Cold War. It now could be undone because of the whims of one unhinged leader," it added.

China will then be able to either "neutralize" the Philippines or turn it into a navy base for "menacing US allies" such as Taiwan, Japan and Australia, it said.

"At the very least, the US Navy will find it much harder to protect the most important sea lanes in the world," it said, adding that $5.3 trillion in goods passes through the South China Sea, $1.2 trillion of which is US trade.

What's worse, it said, is the shift doesn't even make sense.

Locked in a territorial dispute with China and being America's oldest and closest ally in Asia, it is unimaginable for the Philippines to shift alliances, it said.

The report cited how US and Filipino troops fought side by side in World War II, how the Philippines hosted two of the largest American military bases overseas and how the US military has been ramping up its presence in the region in response to Chinese aggression.

"Even today China is more foe than friend of America," it added.

There is also no "especially pressing economic case" for the Philippines to realign itself with China since most of its imports comes from the US and its other Asian allies who resent Beijing's aggression, it said.

"This massive geopolitical shift is entirely Duterte’s doing. It cannot be explained any other way. It is a product of his peculiar psychology," said the report, adding he seems to match Chinese President Xi Jinping's leadership style.

"The Duterte-Xi Jinping marriage thus seems like a natural match," it said.

The only good news, it said, was that Duterte's actions could be "undone by a more rational successor, assuming that democracy in the Philippines survives this time of testing."

------------------------

RELATED(3) FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Yasay: PHL will keep pursuing lawful means amid continued South China Sea disputes Published July 19, 2016 11:13am By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News


YASAY

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Tuesday reiterated that the Philippine government will keep pursuing lawful means amid continued maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea, even after an international arbitral tribunal recently ruled in favor of the Philippines.

In a television interview, Yasay said no bilateral talks have been undertaken on the matter.

"Our position there has always been when we talk with our counterparts, we make sure we don't violate our laws. We make sure that our adherence with our laws will be pursued," he said.

The Foreign Affairs chief said he spoke with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the sidelines of the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Mongolia.

Yasay said Li asked that comments not be made on the arbitral tribunal's ruling there, and that the Philippines be open to bilateral talks.

"They insisted for us not [to] make any comments about that. Of course I understand the position they have taken. They asked also to open ourselves [to] bilateral talks outside. I said it's not in our Constitution. I said there is certainly every avenue we have to try in this dispute," he said.

He added: "Basically, that is what we said, but of course we are open to engaging ourselves in discussion in the future."

Yasay said anew that the priority in addressing the dispute is the welfare of the Filipinos, in particular the fishermen affected.

"We would like to make sure that our fishermen will be allowed to fish. They said if you insist with the ruling, then we might be headed in confrontation," he said. — VVP, GMA News


INQUIRER

Duterte still most trusted PH official–Pulse Asia By: Camille de Guia / @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net / 08:29 AM October 21, 2016


President Rodrigo Duterte. MALACAÑANG FILE PHOTO

Most Filipinos approve of the performance of President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, a survey by Pulse Asia showed.

The results of the Ulat ng Bayan national survey on the performance and trust ratings of top national government officials, which was released on Friday, showed that Duterte continues to enjoy a high approval rating at 86%.

Meanwhile, 66% of the respondents said they approved of Robredo’s performance as vice president, and 61% positively responded to Pimentel’s work as Senate President.

The same top officials of the land garnered the highest trust ratings, the survey showed. Eighty six percent of the respondents said they had “big trust” in Duterte. Sixty five percent trusted Robredo, while Pimentelearned a 55% trust rating.

READ MORE...

RELATED: Most Filipinos trust Duterte at 86 percent—Pulse Asia

As for other top government officials, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno had an approval rating of 46%, reflecting a “plurality sentiment of appreciation” for her work, while House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez registered virtually the same approval and indecision ratings (43% and 42%) the survey showed.

Both Alvarez and Sereno obtained virtually the same trust and indecision ratings: 41% and 45% for Alvarez; and 44% and 42% for Sereno.

The nationwide survey was based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level.

READ: Pulse Asia: Rody enjoys 91% trust rating

-------------------------

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Yasay: ‘Little brown brother image’ stunts PHL’s growth, development Published October 22, 2016 7:29pm


YASAY

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Saturday said the Philippines' images as the "little brown brothers" of America has prevented the country's growth and development.

Yasay made the statement as he explained in his Facebook post titled "Letting Go As Interdependent Brothers" why the Philippines should separate from the America militarily and economically.

The foreign affairs chief admitted that breaking away from the Philippines "closest friend, only military ally and strategic partner would not be in our best national interest as declared unmistakably by President [Rodrigo] Duterte."

"And yet, separation from our former colonial master is demanded in pursuing our independent foreign policy. It implies breaking away from the debilitating mindset of dependency and subservience - economically and militarily - that have perpetuated our 'little brown brother' image to America, which has stunted our growth and advancement," Yasay said.

During his state visit to China, Duterte declared that he was breaking the Philippines' military and economic alliance with the US.

In September, Duterte declared that his administration will pursue an independent foreign policy.

This came after a series of pronouncement against the US.

In his Facebook post, Yasay clarified that the Philippines' separation from the US economically and militarily "does not mean severance of relationship or terminating the special bond between our two nations."

He reiterated that the relations between the two countries "remains firm notwithstanding the formidable but surmountable challenges that we face in making liberating change happen."

He added that Duterte's latest pronouncement "simply means letting go of the disguised chains that continue to hold us captive to foreign interests in order to enable our people and duly elected leaders to address our urgent problems and needs in the light of our priorities, experiences and values without undue outside interference."

Duterte has been complaining against the US' officials statements against his campaign against drugs due to the increasing number of people being killed by the police and unknown assailants.

Yasay said that in his state visit to China, Duterte told Chinese officials, icluding President Xi Jinping, that the Philippines is prepared to deal with its problems on its own.

"President Duterte told President Xi Jinping and other key Chinese leaders that if they are not willing to lend their support, assistance and cooperation fairly, justly and in mutual respect, the Filipinos will chart their destiny alone, despite great odds, in their determination not to commit the same mistakes that have worked against the general welfare," he said. —ALG, GMA News


CONTINUE >> TO NEXT HEADLINE PAGE


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

 EMAIL:  PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE 
© Copyright, 2016 All rights reserved


BACK TO PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE