Overall, I like President Rodrigo Duterte. I voted for him in the 2016 election. No regrets. The best choice in my opinion. I admire his straightforwardness in implementing he wants to accomplish. Some of the few examples are the cleanup of Boracay and returning the garbage to Canada.
But I’m disgusted with Duterte when it comes to his China – West Philippine Sea policy.
It’s so irritating when he lets the Chinese fish in Philippines waters. We used to arrest Chinese and other fishermen from other countries.
During the presidential campaign in 2016, he said he would protect the territory against Chinese incursions, and would even ride a jetski himself. It’s a different story now.
I gathered possible reasons why the President changed his policy.
1. He is truly scared of China’s military might. This is already not a secret. This has always been his stance since day one about his China policy.
On paper, China appears to be a scary giant. They have over 2 million military personnel, while the Philippines has only 171,000. Chinas has 1,222 fighter jets and the Philippines – none. Zero.
China’s tanks are over 3,000. The Philippines has 18.
The Chinese do appear intimidating, thus probably this could justify Duterte for playing it safe.
2. Digong’s hatred of the United States won’t make him ask for help. Duterte is a leftist, and most leftists resent the world’s most powerful nation, the United States. Leftists see the US as a bully and an arrogant country. Ideologically the US is an enemy of all the leftists worldwide, including even the American leftists.
If Duterte asks for help from the US, this could put a dent on his resentment he protected for many decades. Therefore, he just pretends to be scared of China, it’s not really that he is scared. The big brother the US has better military weapons than China will not be his ally if a war breaks out.
I used to be a leftist, and loathing the United States was always part of my being.
3. Pretending to be soft on China. Duterte is just secretly building up and fortifying the defensively capability of the Philippine military. Then, he would gradually change his stance and catch China off-guard.
In his speech at the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Japan on June 1 this year, he said: “I love China, it has helped us a bit. But it behoves upon us to ask: Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean?”.
The President questioned China’s occupation of the West Philippines Sea. Although, not really confrontational. Nonetheless, I liked what I heard from him in that speech.
Whether Duterte is pretending to be friendly with China or not. It irritates me to no end the way he handles China and the West Philippine Sea issue.
Do you have any other idea about Duterte’s China – West Philippine Sea policy? Leave a comment below.