President BBM came home to a host of problems, very urgent problems. I won’t be surprised if the euphoria and promise of the successful state visit would quickly wear off and swiftly get lost in the chaos of the situation e faced having to apologize for the NAIA systems crash, then very suddenly the swirl of destabilization rumors.
Then the American Boys or Amboys in the Filipino polity also moved to distract from the success of the state visit by releasing in some mainstream broadsheets a survey denigrating China just after President Bongbong Marcos just reaffirmed the “strongest partnership” with China.
Third, there was a fake social media event which mainstream radio picked up about a “destabilization plot” allegedly provoked by the replacement by the President of the chief of staff with the Armed Forces, the requested 956 courtesy resignations of high officials in the Philippine national police, following the price of onions rising to P720 per kilo.
As it turned out, what precipitated it was the calling of highest alert by the police in connection with the Traslacion of the Nazareno at Quiapo Church and the Luneta grandstand. The disinformation is now being investigated.
Last January 7, 2022, the Asian Century Philippine Strategic Studies Institute Inc. (ACPSSII) co-sponsored with the Kamuning Bakery Café and the Manila Times, a webinar on the “PBBM sate visit to China: Impact on the Philippines’ economy and future”
Speaking in the webinar were the President of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industries Inc. (FFCCCII) Henry Lim Bonliong representing up to 10,000 full range of giant to small Filipino-Chinese businesses in the country;
Civic and philanthropic leader Sixto “Noy” Benedicto president of the Association for Philippine-China Understanding (APCU) established in 1974 and a key silent but instrumental factor in President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’s diplomatic initiative with China formalizing diplomatic relations in 1975;
Dr. Aaron “Jed” Rabena, research fellow of the Asia Pathways to Progress Foundation Inc. (APPFI) and Prof. Anna Malindog-Uy external vice-president of the ACPSSII. And moderated by Wilson Lee Flores director of the APCU and empresario of the premier media forum lace Kamuning Bakery Café who also spoke as one of the presidential delegation participant.
Last and the least of all this writer served as panel reactor to the presentations and devil’s advocate to the discussion, presenting the more critical and challenging aspects of the issue at hand – what PBBM has to do now returning from the smashing success of a state visit to China which rolled out the full honors for the Philippines’ chief representative to the world trumpets blaring, 21-gun salute roaring, honor guards galore.
Following is my paper was entitled “Impact of the PBBM State Visit to China”:
“After observing the spectacular welcome President Xi Jinping staged for President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. as its first state visitor in 2023 with the clear purpose of showing the Filipino people and the world the utmost priority China is giving the Philippines among its relations in the global community;
“And after witnessing the unmistakable intention of President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. of making China as his administration’s first foreign, official state visit outside of ASEAN, that is to put relations with the People’s Republic of China, the primus inter pares among nations of Asia, as his top foreign relations focus;
“President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. has now shown his firm resolution to continue the constitutional “independent foreign policy” principle and practice reincarnated by his predecessor President Rodrigo R. Duterte, pursued by PBBM’s father President Ferdinand E. Marcos and prescribed by the First Philippine Republic’s first foreign minister Apolinario Mabini.
“PBBM’s historic first state visit outside of ASEAN to China also gave due respect not only to ASEAN centrality but also to Asian centrality, carrying forward the Asian Moment that was 2023 that culminated in three global summits held in ASEAN and Asia in November, the PBBM now resumes in 2023 with the visit to China.
“This visit was another historic step in the march of the Philippines towards the Asian Century and into the vision of a world of ‘Forever Peace and Prosperity’ and away from 500 years of “forever wars” that the West brought to Asia and the world.. Now, in the spirit of the “strongest partnership” the Philippines can truly build its new society of prosperity in a region of harmony and stability.
“The remaining question as President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. returns to the Philippines is, ‘What actions will President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. take to fulfill the rich symbolisms of his state visit to China?’ There are bold moves to make to materialize the historic symbolisms such as:
- Ending the dalliances with the Western imperialist powers,
- Ending the sabotage of the Philippines’ economic, political and geopolitical blossoming by the West’s Fifth Column in the Philippine polity,
- The full and uninterrupted commitment to the “comprehensive strategic cooperation” with the engine of development of the world,
- Solidarity with the ASEAN majority to exclude outside powers from the South China Sea”
“All these will begin with the fast tracking of the Philippine-China 60/40 oil-gas joint venture which is only being held back by the monumental obstructionism of a Western-led transnational oil consortium, as well as the disciplining of the foreign affairs and security bureaucracies from diverging from official government foreign policies.
Dubious survey exposed
Stratbase ADR Institute commissioned Pulse Asia to do a survey to confirm Filipino appreciation of the US security link.
What the ADR-Pulse Asia survey, however, found out is that those security issues out of 16 “most urgent national concerns” ranked number 15 with of 3% (repeat, 3% only) of 1,200 surveyed respondents saying it is of immediate concern, but Stratbase media reports presents only the security angle to highlight so-called support for the security arrangements with the U.S. and its allies.
I find that not just dubious but malicious.
In surveys for the entire 2022 up to December, the highest concerns of Filipinos have always been high prices or inflation, jobs and livelihood, corruption, poverty, education, and everything concerning the material well-being of the Filipino family.
Published December 16, 2022, PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. found that majority of Filipinos believe that the Philippine economy is the most important issue that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. should focus on, posting 25% of the total of 1,500 female and male Filipino respondents. This was followed by prices of goods and inflation which had a rating of 16 percent, climbing from 11 percent in the third quarter of 2022.
For the Filipino respondents, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. should also focus on the following issues: corruption (11 percent), jobs (11 percent), poverty (10 percent), education (6 percent), wages (5 percent), peace and order or crime (4 percent), illegal drugs (3 percent), and environment (2 percent).
Nowhere in the report of the survey did it show that Filipinos are worried about China and the so-called Wet Philippine Sea.
Stratbase avoids dwelling on the economic issues because that would really sideline any real interest in the US-related scaremongering to justify continued stay of the US in the Philippines. Stratbase wants to distract from the real solutions to the economic problems which PBBM is actually addressing with his “strongest partnership” with China.
PBBM must crack the whip especially within his Cabinet, and callout incompetent dissenters in Congress who grandstand just to create dissonance and divert government as a whole in pursuing our bottom-line national interest.
Who was it who said that running the Philippines is much, much more difficult than running the United States of America, or today running the vast country of China. President Xi Jinping is running a country of 1.4-billion people but he has a 92-million strong discipline political party to help him, a discipline government and a disciplined people that follows the leadership.
This is why President Bongbong Marcos must rally focus on the “strongest partnership” with China to anchor his next five-and-a-half years in the solid ground of China economic growth and its gargantuan market, ensure undisturbed good relations to ensure economic growth with the expanding economy of China.
PBBM should ensure the harmony, peace, stability of the region by ending the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) come April 2023 and eventually cutting the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) before the U.S. uses it for its next “Forever War” after Ukraine. This should be his top priority, and this is simply walking the talk that we heard during his state visit to China and meetings with President Xi Jinping and the top officials of the Peoples Republic of China.