Will PH Be Left Behind (Again) In Multipolar World?


CHINA brokers peace between Saudi and Iran, ending months of hostility. Chinese President Xi Jinping travels to Moscow for a three‐day meeting with President Putin and presents a peace plan that the US quickly rejects, without giving an alternative. Taiwan’s former leader Ma Ying-jeou and Brazil’s Lula da Silva are scheduled to visit China in the coming week.

Around 40 African officials traveled to Moscow for the Russia‐Africa summit to discuss cooperation and the fight against the influence of “former colonial powers.” Australia also stated it will not get involved in a US‐China conflict over Taiwan, even though Australia will pay the US $368 billion for a fleet of nuclear‐powered submarines.

The biggest danger between the US‐China rivalry is the eruption of proxy wars, warned Australia’s Paul Keating. Amid the US attempt to further militarize Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam have restated their position against getting “trapped by the US‐China rivalry.” Without any US military bases, over 50 executives from top US companies including Netflix, Boeing and SpaceX traveled to Vietnam.

West double standard

Days before Xi arrived in Moscow, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin, which the West made sure dominated the airwaves. Not reported is that the US is not a signatory to the ICC and even threatened the ICC with military use of force when the court’s judges announced that they would investigate war crimes of US soldiers in Afghanistan. US Presidents Bush father and son Bush to Clinton and Obama started wars that led to millions dead or displaced, but there was no ICC investigation. In fact, Obama even received a Nobel Prize.

The collapse of two American tech‐focused banks, SVB and Signature Bank, the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis, exposes another double standard where we see the US Fed quietly increased the money supply by $300 billion to backstop the failed banks, which will further worsen inflation — other countries have to sell off their sovereignty when they need a bailout.

Western “experts” and “think tanks” also regularly predicted the collapse of China’s economy, but can’t seem to prevent the regular cyclical US‐originated financial crisis.

The US have hijacked hundreds of billions of other people’s money, i.e., Russians, Iranians, Venezuelans and Afghans. The UN has been warning that Afghanistan is facing a dire humanitarian crisis, where people the US promised to liberate after 20 years of war cannot even afford food and basic medicines.

The US Congress has gone after TikTok, which has garnered 150 million active users. During the Congress hearing, when CEO Shou Chew answered questions directly, the US representatives, like children throwing tantrums, cut him off and one even exclaimed “I don’t trust what you’re saying” without offering any counter evidence. Shouldn’t America be more concerned about half of their population being addicted to mind‐numbing entertainment than China spying on them? China has restricted the hours of usage of mobile games for students.

Misleading, biased news continues vs Duterte

Some so‐called Filipinos want the ICC to prosecute Duterte, who consistently received 80 percent approval and trust rating until the end of his term, compared to Biden’s approval rating hovering at around 40 percent.

These critics are already beneficiaries of the programs that Duterte delivered in his six years: free education, removal of taxes for basic earners, extension of expiration dates for passport and driver’s license, improvement in internet connectivity, labor protection for our OFWs, and record infrastructure development that also activated rural development, among others.

Three of Duterte’s lasting achievements have regional and global implications. First, he resolved the IS‐led Marawi crisis in eight months with emergency weapons rushed‐delivered by China and Russia, when the US and Europe initially blocked weapons delivery. The Armed Forces received accolades for their professionalism during the Marawi crisis even from US officials and local constituents.

Second, though not without its fair share of issues, especially of missteps in early months of the pandemic, the lower casualties among Filipino as compared to richer Western countries (as percent of population), show the Philippines response, especially being able to secure medicine and vaccines deliveries from China in the early critical months when Western countries blocked deliveries, had a direct role in saving our frontliners and opening our economy months earlier.

Third, the maintenance of peace in the South China Sea, amid isolated incidents, while securing access for our fishermen and concrete developmental gains for the benefit of our wider countrymen.

Dangerous politicization of the Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guard’s failure to contain the Mindoro oil spill has led to damaging the livelihoods of over 30,000 fisherfolk families and worsening environmental damage, with the oil slick reaching the heart of marine sanctuary Verde Island in Batangas. While our coast guards on the ground are overwhelmed with combating 800,000 liters of oil, the leadership has time to politicize the South China Sea. Why did Commodore Jay Tarriela take the role of our diplomats in DFA and only megaphoning incidents against China in the West Philippine Sea, but not those of Vietnam and other claimant states? Who profits from the politicization of our Coast Guard?

International law expert Atty. Harry Roque Jr. revealed that the coast guard under its commandant Admiral Artemio Abu has failed to activate available international forums that provide emergency resources and funds to be deployed in oil spill disasters. Instead Commandant Abu has opted to wait for Japan and US assistance, weeks into the oil-spill, which is already threatening to reach Palawan and Boracay.

The US continued blatant violation of Philippine sovereignty like installing military bases around the Philippines, American warplanes illegally using Philippine civilian hex code to spy near China, and betraying our claims on Sabah, among others, are not mentioned, but South China Sea issues remain a “serious” concern, as mentioned by DFA Undersecretary Lazaro during the Philippines and China Bilateral Consultations. Why not adopt a serious approach on securing productive Chinese investments and technologies which can help fast-track our development, like what our Asean neighbors are doing?

Most western media fail to report that poverty incidences decreased, and fish catch increased for Filipino fishermen in South China Sea (during 2015‐2018 as reported by PSA), which belie the painting of most media that Filipino fishermen are victimized by China.

Not to discount the fact that there are isolated cases which should be managed, but those continuing to misrepresent isolated incidents as if they are state‐sponsored should already be dismissed as fake‐experts or warmongers.

The same “experts” fail to report that Vietnam is currently undergoing 10 large reclamations, were reported to be the most frequent poachers in Philippine coastline, and actually stole Pugad Island… or that Malaysia refused to even discuss status of Sabah that has over 400,000 Filipinos, natural resources extractable from land, not deep underwater, and we have clear land titles, not just maritime entitlements.

Is the Philippines being short-changed?

Defense officials, led by Secretary Carlito Galvez, touted $82 million from the US as part of the benefits of EDCA. Without conditions, China donated two new bridges in Manila worth over $120 million, another $100 million loan was forgiven, billions worth of relief and medical donations were delivered during the pandemic and calamities when we needed them the most.

Taiwan, with no US military base, receives up to $2 billion a year from America. Pakistan, which has robust economic and military ties with China, receives $5 billion from the US. President Marcos Sr. made the US pay over $200 million a year for their military bases in Clark and Subic in the 1980s. Why did none of our other Asean neighbors accept additional military bases from the US? We should look to the north for economic opportunities not for additional trouble, Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba reminded our policymakers.

There is a fierce race among nations to prepare their people and economies for a world that is moving into a more multipolar world; the next few years will be critical.
We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks (
idsicenter@gmail.com). Also published in ManilaTimes.

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