U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting the Manila on November 20 for handshakes with President Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte, then heading to Puerto Princesa, Palawan on November 22 to go onboard BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) and be briefed about the Philippine Coast Guard’s maritime operations in Palawan, the Philippine province closest to the West Philippine Sea, which forms part of the South China Sea.
The obvious insinuation of the Kamala Harris trip to the Palawan site onboard a coast guard vessel is the relevance of the U.S. military presence in the Philippines to defend the country’s claims thereat. It is the measure of how low this issue of the so-called “threat” to the claimed areas has sunk in the threat perception of Filipinos now that the Americans and their gofer Amboys need such a stunt to refocus media and national attention on it.
The tensions created by the decade-long American, Amboys and mainstream media campaign using the “China threat” scare no longer work, China has shown and done too much goodwill and beneficial projects in cooperation President Duterte and now with President Bongbong Marcos over the past years and shown to the people how wrong those scare stories about China were all along. Filipinos are now going back to the real priorities, economic survival and recovery.
Surveys from July down to October by Pulse Asia establish the fact that “rising prices” and later “inflation” are the top concerns among Filipinos, and amongst the so-called “allies” or “friends” of the Philippines only China is truly addressing these concerns on all levels. From 55-million doses of Covid vaccines to multi-billion bridges and trains, to provincial level aid from the Chinese embassy during disaster the Filipino people see the visible and tangible good works of China literally every day.
China’s image has crossed to “Good China” since the middle of 2021 when PuBLicus Asia of Malou Tiquia in its survey found that 53% of Filipinos are open to considering China as a friend, while a survey this year by the Central European Institute of Asian Studies survey also show that up to 53% of Filipinos see China in a positive light already and 25% see China “in a very positive” light. There is already a sea change in perception and reality in favor of China.
Meanwhile China continues to pile up its good works. These days one can see China’s ambassador to the Philippines and the consulates in Cebu, Davao and Laoag on Facebook almost every day conducting distribution of bags and bags of basic disaster survival stuffs in the wake of almost weekly typhoons this season. Over and above all these now routine relief sorties of the Chinese consulates is the overall China-Philippines trade highlighting the country’s “double win”.
The Philippines as of November 9, 2022 consummated purchase deals worth $ 607.41-million with Chinese buyers at the latest Shanghai China International Import Expo (CIIE), and this was just in four days of the five-day event. The Philippine expo delegation consisted of 56 food companies and 6 non-food coconut companies, the largest number of exhibitors since 2018 CITEM Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes D. Mediran reported through China Radio Int’l (CRI).
China is the Philippines’ top export destination again in 2022 generating almost $ 16-billion by August of 2022 outstripping the U.S. by almost $ 7-billion. Philippine exports to China have been growing by up to 9% annually from 2017. The latest prospects for Philippine exporters is Durian after the Chinese market opened to avocados in recent years and after becoming the top banana supplier of China the past five years.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that what the Philippine needs very badly now is economic resurgence after the two years of the pandemic crisis, and with the help of the only fast recovering major economy in the world, China, the Philippines can recover faster. China’s 2022 3rd qtr. GDP growth was 3.9% amidst the negative growth rate of major Western economies, the Philippines growth will also be pulled up by this China growth as its consumer demand increases.
The Philippines is also waiting for the eventual lifting of the Zero Covid policy in China which may be starting to be unwound. Although it may take a considerable more tie to be totally lifted for outbound tourism to be normalized, the Philippines can expect what when it does happen the surge ofo Chinese tourists in the Philippines can be expected, bringing much need cash infusion into the national economy. A final shot in the arm for post-pandemic economic recovery.
While the U.S., VP Kamala Harris and their Filipino “Amboy” hosts think their stunt on board the Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Teresa Magbanua in Palawan can hype up frenzy again over the SCS sea disputes the reality is a growing number of Filipinos find such overacting passe, meaningless and irrelevant. Filipinos want food ono the table, jobs to go to and rice and sardines to bring home to the family. Kamala Harris’ flatus just stinks to high heavens.