By Herman Tiu Laurel
It is 99.99% going to be a post-Duterte era in seven months’ time as no Duterte is running for the presidency and carrying his banner.
Sara Duterte has almost zero chance of changing her mind about substituting for anyone and neither will the present Comelec rules allow her. Besides she’s avowedly different from her father and shows no indication that she would follow her father’s governance style but pursue her own. I allow only 0.01% for Sara to change her mind for unforeseen developments.
If elections were to be held now it is the Marcos legacy that appears to be the form and substance of the next administration.
Marcos firmly holds the lead in the surveys and by a sizeable margin as most of Sara Duterte’s voters are known to be Bongbong Marcos (BBM) supporters too. Seven months to the May 2022 election day is a long time but BBM’s high-level campaign and monopoly on sovereign and developmental national path ala FM (the old Marcos) and Duterte shines through.
The polar opposite to BBM in the political polarization marked by pro-US, liberal-human-rights, pro-ABS-CBN, anti-Duterte and anti-Marcos rhetoric the major camps of which are: the Robredo, the Isko, the Pacquiao, the Lacson groups that have separate wagerers funding from behind and scrambling to gain the “opposition crown” in the surveys to come and to corner the big money for the final battles in the final three months of the campaign.
Quiet on the anti-China front
The decibels of the presidential campaign and propaganda wars are rising to deafening levels day-by-day, particularly the anti-Marcos and anti-Duterte invectives, denunciations and harangues.
The forty-years anti-Marcos narratives have surged as expected, with the universities and churches being used as well, while the usual mainstream media outlets controlled by the oligarchy highlight all the attacks on BBM and increasingly less so on the Duterte’s as they step into the background.
One very wrongful practice in Philippine elections is the use of the schools and students in partisan politics, this time La Salle, Ateneo and U.P. used against one candidate, but there are no real issues except anti-Marcos, anti-Duterte generalities.
What is also surprising is the U.S. and allies throwing in the Nobel Peace Prize to buttress the anti-Duterte, anti-Marcos propaganda but in the process stirring a backlash that will cost what is now called the Piss Prize its serious discredit.
What is surprising is the quiet from the opposition’s anti-China front.
Of course, the anti-China stalwarts Carpio, Hilbay, Jardeleza and Batongbacal had their serious falling out recently that has made the issue irrelevant. But the success of China’s vaccine humanitarianism as well as the completion of several donated infra projects, plus the success of China’s diplomacy, have all reinforced what Duterte had known since the 2016 election – China was never an issue as it has always been a friend.
US Politicking and interference
The Nobel Peace Prize sham to boost the anti-Duterte, anti-Marcos, anti-Duterte narrative in the campaign was akin to using a propaganda atom bomb against BBM and Duterte but landed not with a blast but a dud.
Ninety-six years old Philippine National Artist Literature Francisco Sionil Jose decried the “undeserved” award and even the pro-US columnist Federico Pascual of the Star had to admit by way of a question “Oslo pressed to add Philippines to Nobel honors?”
Actually, talking to a diplomat familiar with Russia the view there is that anti-Putin journalist Dmitry Muratov was added to give the award to Ressa more credibility as Muratov just isn’t taken seriously in Moscow.
A few days before the Nobel Peace Prize comedy the US embassy sent it new Chargé d’ Affaires to visit candidate Leni Robredo for a photo-op and publicized in all the media outlets, clearly to boost their little doll’s political and electoral stock.
Meanwhile, China just continued its good works with the Philippines, Covid-19 vaccines donations and deliveries to Manilas had totaled 36-million doses as of September 20, 2021 according to Statista and another 2.5-million doses arrived on October 1, 2021.
The Philippines and China has signed an MOU on bamboo, agriculture and rice R&D, while Ambasssador Chita Sta. Romana had been busy with our Department of Trade attending China’s three international expositions on trade, investments and imports.
The Philippines’ post-2022 Presidential Election scenario is also looking brighter whoever wins the Philippine elections due to two on-going initiatives of the Biden administration opening new talks with China.
One is the Zurich meeting between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi, and the second the virtual meet of USTR Katherine Tai and Vice Premier Liu He of the PROC on trade issues.
It is evident that the Biden administration is gingerly backing away from the Trump “trade war” with the U.S.-business requested selective lifting of tariffs on Chinese imports while holding firm to others, the much awaited “recoupling” word is now appearing.
Meanwhile, the Zurich meet to Sullivan and Yang was a clear de-escalation from the “cold” face-off in Alaska in March warming enough this time to promise a Biden-Xi virtual meeting by the end of 2021.
While Trump and his radical-xenophobic rabble continue to rant about China, mainstream America is actually opening up to the idea of a negotiated modus vivendi in a multipolar world as seen in the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Mark Milleys direct phone call to Chinese generals that he would stop a war if in the tense insurrection week in the U.S. last January the unstable Trump would order an attack to distract the U.S. population.
QUAD, AUKUS: rear guard actions
Contrary to the images the various QUAD joint naval exercises in the SCS tries to portray, the alliance shows fragility.
While India barks loudly against China its imports from China have been rising in 2021 despite boycott calls. Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called Chinese President Xi Jinping before calling India’s PM Modi while the U.S. continues to officially deny Japan’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands while sanding by their security alliance.
After Western failure to split Hong Kong and destabilize Xinjiang, they now focus on Taiwan agitations conducting a naval exercise at the Bashi Straits nearby. The West make a tempest out of 56 flights of Chinese warplanes around the Taiwan ADIZ and not over the island, and an ADIZ drawn by the Americans post war that overs more Chinese mainland land and air space that Taiwan’s itself.
The reality is in 2021 44% of Taiwan’s exports went to China which if ended would choke Taiwan.
The AUKUS is another bogeyman of the U.S. as former Aussie PM Paul Keating blasted the partnership questioning what change the US would have in “full blown war against China” if it “could not beat a bunch of Taliban rebels with AK47 rifles in pickup trucks”, and the Aussies now have doubts they can afford nor operate independently the contracted nuke subs and still be sovereign. Meanwhile, the recent USS Connecticut accident shows how wrong Locsin is about the perils of nuke sub reactor accidents.
The US can no longer sustain its global hegemony which It thought it would establish since the fall of the Soviet Union in the “Project for a New American Century” with wars at the turn of the 21st century. Instead, the 2008 US Financial Crash followed. Then the Rise of China and the Asian Century. US 2020 debt was 129% of GDP – if China stopped accepting US $ the US would collapse. The US has to turn home to fix itself but needs its allies not to jump ship – hence the illusions of preparing a fight in Asia.
The Philippine and the World in 2050
The Philippines after the 2022 elections will be faced with the daunting task of economic recovery.
Can new president afford to succumb to anti-China pressures from Amboys (American boys) in the political bureaucracy and delay the billions $ of job generating infrastructure project funded by China?
Or oppose the return of 2-million Chinese tourists and billions they bring in? We expect Chinese-Filipino joint manufacturing ventures, more Filipino professionals working in China going forward.
It takes a generation of 25 to 30 years for history to shift in a clear direction, just as it took 25-years for the US dream of the “Project for a New American Century” to be conceived, implemented and totally flop in Afghanistan by 2021.
The next stage is the China Dream and Asian Century realization by 2050, I hope to still see that at 99 years old. From now until then I hope to see China, the US and others start mining the moon to sustain the continuous material progress of Mankind.
Thorium nuclear energy will be the dominant source of power for Humanity supplemented by space-based solar power (SBSP) collected in orbiting locations and microwaved to earth in receiving stations.
Gene therapy would have solved all cancer diseases, water desalination and recycling would have solved the water crisis, and a global system of governance with regional voting blocs would be promoting global democracy. The Philippines would be a moderately rich country in the 16th or 17th largest economy in the world by that time.