PHIL-CHINA WATCH

By Herman Tiu Laurel

A Yahoo! Finance news item of Aug. 11, 2022 reports that  "About 78.34 percent of respondents from 22 countries believe the Chinese economy has become the engine of the world economy." This is from a survey of respondents, averaging 39 years old, across the US, UK, Australia, Japan as well as developing countries Brazil, India, UAE and South Africa.

A compelling 91.46 percent of those polled from Africa extol China's economic achievements and believe China has become the world's economic engine; European respondents follow with a share of 81.6 percent and 78.09 percent; and respondents from North America rank third with 78.09 percent. Overall, 76.23 percent of respondents expect China will play a crucial role in promoting global economic development.

A sizeable 34.55 percent believe the world will be “multipolar” in the future, while only 6.31 percent think the world will continue to be unipolar and dominated by the US while 56 percent of respondents from all parts of the globe are certain that Western politicians are scaremongering "the China Threat" due to their dismay and alarm over China's rise. Veritably, 61.29 percent support China’s vision of "a community with a shared future" to avoid conflict.

I bring these up as some Philippine bureaucrats, defense officials and media people do not to appreciate President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s initiative to engage strongly with China. Instead, they are making attempts to sabotage PBBM by pushing the “China Threat” agenda of the US, promoting US-PH joint sea patrols, joint military “Balikatan” drills, and fortifying the MDT, VFA and EDCA, all of which should be scrapped to ensure a peaceful Asia.

China rail loan talks on track

This brings us to the PH-China projects where the PBBM administration has overcome the very aggressive disinformation war of the US on Chinese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) for the Philippines, including the outright lies about the “debt trap” and “high interest rates”. On Aug. 15, the PBBM administration’s Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista has finally resumed talks with a visit to Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian.

The DOTR Secretary said that “the two officials discussed the resumption of talks on the major China-funded railway projects, including the PNR South Long-Haul Project (North-South Commuter Railway), Subic-Clark Railway, and Mindanao Railway (Tagum-Davao-Digos),” as well as Philippines and Chinese Coast Guards Maritime cooperation, particularly communication and legal affairs cooperation.

Regarding the insistence of some politicians and other ill-informed sectors to consider Japan as the source of funding for the projects, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through Usec. Cesar Chavez said, “Japan has already exposed itself so much...” In other words, Japan has little funds left for ODA to the Philippines. This is a fact we have repeatedly pointed out and I am glad the DOTr has finally and publicly explained this to the nation which had been confused for months now about this.

The revival of PH and China talks on another very vital project, the Joint Oil-Gas 60/40 Deal favoring the Philippines is also in the works. Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte had appealed to his own government officials to ensure the talks fulfillment, but powerful vested interests blocked it with the inexplicable termination of the deal by Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin who has yet to show any document to back his verbal canard.

In June, PNOC director Michael T. Macapagal noted that the PBBM is inclined to “overturn” the Locsin verbal decision given technical studies confirming rich oil and natural gas deposits the country needs for energy independence. The project will never push through without China’s concurrence so PBBM must steel his resolve and override the Philippine oligarchs and proceed apace.

Focus, focus, focus

There are countless and ceaseless pressures that threaten constantly to divide the President’s attention; hence it is always timely to issue a reminder to focus, focus, focus, on the imperative of the times. Today, tomorrow and at least the next four years, it will be “Revive the economy... Stupid” that all Filipinos should keep in mind.

The main enemy against Philippine economic recovery and progress is imperial America who continues to sabotage the Philippines’ cooperation with China, the global engine for economic growth. We can see clearly the consistent pattern of information sabotage and political interference using Amboys (American boys) to waylay government and media.

Even the UN General Assembly live appearance of PBBM was encouraged by the Philippine Ambassador to Washington, who has the ulterior motive of setting up a meeting between PBBM and Biden to upstage PBBM’s visit to China. Together, the local Foreign Affairs and Armed Forces Amboys are throwing in poisoned proposals to spoil Philippine relations with Asean and China. It’s good PBBM has deftly announced this first state visits to be to Asean countries Singapore and Indonesia.

We wish PBBM the best in all his efforts to subdue the challenges to the nation’s recovery and pursue the path to prosperity, hence these observations for his consideration. This information is likewise for readers to consider, propagating these messages of great urgency and import to their friends and groups on social media. 


Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary.

About the Columnist

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Herman Tiu Laurel is a veteran journalist and founder of think tank PHILIPPINE-BRICS Strategic Studies.