ACPSSII Policy Statement on BRI 10th Anniversary and 3rd BRI Forum
The ACPSSII is dedicated to the pursuit of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.” It affirms the role of Asia in building this global peace now that Asia has achieved the ideal through peaceful resolution of conflicts among Asean and Asian nation the past decades, building economic prosperity from the political stability peace brings.
In light of the purposes of ACPSSII as we look at the current global geopolitical and economic crises we are obliged to study these challenges and draw prescriptions for our Philippine national constituency to be guided accordingly. Hence, we issue analyses and conduct these weekly media forum and Zoom symposiums to ventilate and discuss the ACPSSII prescriptions.
The Multi-Polar, BRI World Revolution
The Human Race is in transition from an era of Western domination and recent (in historical terms) geopolitical unipolarity and its milieu of “Forever Wars and Poverty” to a Multi-Polar World being built brick by brick by nations from all regions of the globe together for an era of “Forever Peace and Prosperity” led by the countries of Asia and Eurasia, spreading to Africa and Latin America.
A milestone in the building of the ear of “Forever Peace and Prosperity” is the enunciation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 by China’s leader President Xi Jinping. That vision is now blossoming into a magnificent reality of an expanding network of tens of thousands of kilometers of land and maritime trade and infrastructure corridors that has invested $ 1-trillion in capital, generated $ 2-trillion of additional global trade and 40-million jobs along its route.
The constellation of regional and global political and economic-financial organization set up to support the vision includes the expanding BRICS Plus partnership the represents today 47% of the world’s population and 36% of global GDP to the West’s 29%, as well as financial institutions led by the BRICS or New Development Bank, the AIIB or Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, and other related banks.
Global Enthusiasm for BRI
The 10th Anniversary of the BRI held in conjunction with the 3rd BRI Form in October 17 and 18, 2023 drew participation from world leaders such as President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minster Victor Orban of Hungary, President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, President William Ruto of Kenya, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, and President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina, among many other heads of states and international organizations.
Representatives from 140 countries descended on Beijing for the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for discussions and planning expected to produce substantial outcomes on top of 200 cooperation agreements with participating countries the past decade, and more details in terms of projects, funds and measures likely to exceed those of the previous two forums. the relevance of the Belt and Road Initiative is undeniable.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez enthused at the BRI contributions exclaiming that, “It has included nearly $1 trillion in cumulative investments across more than 3,000 projects around the world” adding that “The Belt and Road (Initiative) demonstrates that we have historic opportunity to build more than green cities, communities and transportation and power systems… turn the infrastructure emergency to infrastructure opportunity,”
The BRI is described as a “Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future” by China’s State Council, and that is the overarching dream of all the cooperative and constructive programs being formed into reality from the dream of “Forever Peace and Prosperity” for Mankind. Is the Philippines being left behind this global community’s pursuit of that dream of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men”?
From “Build, Build,Build” to “Base, Base, Base”
The Philippines under President Bongbong Marcos (PBBM) abruptly turned its back on the energetic cooperation of his predecessor President Rodrigo R. Duterte extended to the Belt and Road Initiative which brought to the Philippines the fruits of the global infrastructure and investment program resulting in $ billions worth of projects ranging from rice technology development, bridges and railroad, irrigation and flood control, telecommunications and power projects.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on April 24, 2019 arrived in Beijing to participate in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, strengthening connectivity and economic integration with regional partners. By the end of his term major projects had been accomplished such as the Chico River Irrigation project, AIIB funded flood control, the completion of Estrella Pantaleon and Binondo-Intramuros Bridges, start of Davao-Samal Bridge among many others.
A key Duterte-Xi cooperative project that would have solved the Philippine’s economic crisis and major diplomatic impasse simultaneously was the Philippines-China Joint Oil and Gas Exploration and Exploitation deal in the Reed (Recto) Bank. President Duterte reminded one-and-all in April of 2022 that this commitment had to be honored but the treacherous U.S. asset foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin sabotaged the deal and arbitrarily terminated it.
Today, with PBBM’s pivot to the U.S. no major new economic or infrastructure project has been started, China funded projects such as revival of the Bicol Express are moribund, while the U.S. brings in for the PBBM administration new military bases, troops, military exercises, along with its destruction of reefs and livelihoods, weaponry for the U.S. bases, and not an inch of territory gained but only investment-discouraging geopolitical tensions and crises after crises.
ASEAN is going with the BRI, highlighted by the attendance of the ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn and new Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin aside from Indonesia’s Widodo. President Bongbong Marcos is becoming isolated in the ASEAN community although the neighbors are yet too polite to remind the Philippine president that he is already violating the ZOPFAN and the SEANWF in his dalliance with the “Forever Wars” power. President Bongbong Marcos’ administration, already faced with a precipitous crash of approval ratings, is acing doom if he continues his present course. It’s time he reviews his options and reverse the “Base, Base, Base” tango with the U.S. A pivot back to the “Forever Peace and Prosperity” vision is the only logical and promising future for the Philippines, it’s not too late to rejoin the “coalition of the growing.”