Posted by Angelo Lopez on October 22, 2016
Yesterday morning I read news that Philippine President Duterte wants to cut economic and military ties to the U.S. and to strengthen ties with China and Russia. This adds to the worries that I have about President Duterte. I'm not against Duterte's efforts to open up markets for Philippine business and agriculture in China and Russia. Duterte just recently finished a trip to China where $24 billion worth of trade deals were agreed to between China and the Philippines, which is a good accomplishment.
Countries like Vietnam and Japan, however, have pursued greater economic trade with China and Russia while also pursuing trade with the United States. About 43% of Overseas Filipino Worker remittances comes from the United States. Trade between the Philippines and the United States total $16.491 billion. When Duterte says that the Philippines has to cut ties to the U.S. in order to pursue greater trade with China and Russia, it's a false choice that other countries don't have to make.
Trade between Manila and Washington amounts to $16.491 billion favoring the Philippines, according to a fact sheet provided by the DFA in September.
The US also continues to host 5,997,330 Filipinos as Duterte vows to cut military and economic ties with Washington...
...Duterte's economic planners, however, sought to clarify the President's statement.
"We will maintain relations with the West but we desire stronger integration with our neighbors," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement after Duterte's speech...
...Former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario earlier called on the Duterte administration to count the economic cost of the country's shift in foreign policy.
"In foreign affairs, you try to get as many friends as possible. You don't get one friend at the expense of another friend," he explained. "Playing a zero-sum game is illogical and we should get away from this."