I was listening to that and couldn’t help but think: bakit sa isang foreign visit n’ya in-announce iyang kagimbal-gimbal na foreign policy n’ya? It’s one thing to keep your Cabinet members in the dark – which is deeply troubling in itself – but it’s a whole level of betrayal to keep that from the Filipino people, and to announce it for the first time in front of foreigners.
Probing questions must be asked in light of these earth-shaking policy overhaul. What does “separation from the US, both in military and economics” mean, and what are its consequences to our national interests? Are we really completely abrogating our 70-year-old alliance with America? What will be the impact of this separation, particularly in terms of trade and investment? And, by saying that he has “realigned himself” with the “ideological flow” of China, is the President saying that he’s going to sponsor a change in our democratic set-up of government into something that approximates or resembles the communist or totalitarian system of mainland China? Mabibigat na usapin ito that goes into the very basis and philosophy of our foreign policy in particular, and the democratic character of our government in general. Mga usapin ito ng bawat Pilipino.
To borrow the eloquent words of my colleague Senator Gordon, what a “material concealment” from the Filipino people! Obviously, this is not what they signed up for when they cast their vote last May 2016, if we go by the huge disparity between the trust rating that the US garnered vs. China, where Filipinos themselves said that they trust the US most and China least!
And with good reason!
Kapag naghanap ka ng kaibigan, hindi mo lang hinahanap yung mayaman, yung papautangin ka, yung maraming toy guns na ipapahiram sa’yo – tinitignan mo rin kung paano ka n’ya ita-trato bilang tao at kung kaya at handa s’yang ipagtanggol ka. Makipaglaro man sa’yo, wala namang assurance na igagalang n’ya ang pagkatao mo.
I’m not saying that China or Russia is not capable of respecting our people’s human rights, but we have to look at facts and reality, not the romantic picture that our star-struck and starry-eyed President wants to see. If their own people have limited expectations about respect for their human rights, labor law protections and, in general, freedom from violence from their own government, palagay mo ba tayong mga Pilipino can expect more?
Oo nga siguro, mas mahirap makakuha ng visa sa mga bansang katulad ng US, pero iyon ay dahil may kaakibat na pangakong mas magandang buhay, hindi pamumuhay na ikaw ay ituturing na basura o less than human. Parang illegal recruiter lang ‘yan, if it’s too easy and if it sounds too good to be true, malamang kapahamakan at pang-aapi ang naghihintay sa’yo diyan.
Ilang mga Pilipino, kabilang na mga OFWs, ang nasa China at Russia? Ilang mga Pilipino ang nasa ibang bansa, hindi lang sa US? If you position yourself as the single third world country in the company of two huge, but isolated nations, who do you go to for help if there are OFWs and other Filipinos in trouble in those other countries? Palagay mo kaya mo mag-isa? Palagay mo tutulungan ka lagi ng China at Russia? Palagay mo they are even in a position to help you under most circumstances?
I’m not only talking about material aid, but in terms of leverage and negotiating power with other countries. If you isolate yourself from the world, it isn’t you who suffers, Mr. President, it is the Filipino people. By all means, make friends! But stop making yourself the enemy of the world!
Masaya ka na papautangin ka ng isang bansa. Oo nga pero, kung isang bansa lang ang kausap mo at in-isolatemo ang sarili mo sa buong mundo, palagay mo competitive ang level ng interest rates o iba pang kondisyon na ipapataw sa’yo bilang kapalit?
President Duterte has a really inflated, if not delusional, view of himself as a strongman at the level of China and Russia’s leadership.
But he’s only proving that he’s a naïve child, looking at the world through distorted lenses when it comes to a lot of things, including foreign policy – absolutely no concept or care for the consequences of his actions. But that’s what you get from violently and vengefully silencing the voices that try show you reason – you deny yourself the chance to mature.
This is what an official visit to China looks like: they will wine you, dine you, roll out the red carpets and treat you like queens and kings. It’s a really good feeling. Pero hindi ka pwedeng magpadaan sa bulaklak, pangako at bola. Mag-isip ka dahil hindi lang buhay mo ang nakataya, kundi buhay at kabuhayan ng milyon-milyong Pilipino. Huwag mong ibenta ang mga Pilipino sa idelohiyang tatalikod sa minamahal nilang kalayaan at demokratikong pamumuhay sa ilalim ng ating Konstitusyon. Nangako kang tatalima sa Konstitusyon, do it. You have no right to put yourself above the sovereignty of the people. Hindi ka diyos.
It’s saddening, frightening and highly incensing that this President does not have a true servant-leader’s capacity to put the interests of the people ahead of his own bitterness. Biruin mo, na-deny ka lang ng US visa noon, hindi ka lang naka-move on, itinanim mo pa ang bitterness mo nang ilang taon hanggang sa maging Presidente ka at magamit mo ang posisyon mo para gumanti sa pakiramdam mo ay atraso sa’yo. Sounds familiar? It does to me, painfully and personally familiar.¨