The Philippines Should Turn Predator, Like China

Here is what we are coming to understand. 

Chinese Attitudes Toward Japan

China is engaged in a coordinated national effort aimed at acquiring additional resources as cheaply as possible. Stealing of other nation’s lands is among the tactics included in the thrust. China’s initiatives are as follows:

  • Develop Chinese mining and resource production.
  • Hoard the world’s rare earth minerals critical in the manufacture of electronic goods. China can cut the world off from rare earth minerals at any time for any reason.
  • Invest in mining around the world with major efforts in South America and Australia. Ecology is not a primary concern. Acquisition of cheap minerals in bulk is the driving force.
  • Smuggle ores from lands such as the Philippines where corruption allows this. “If we can get it, it is honest, because we need it.”
  • Claim the entire West Philippine Sea, even if it is within other nations’ exclusive economic zones. That is, even if it belongs rightfully to others.
  • Step up vocal and military might to intimidate smaller nations. Use a divide and conquer strategy to keep other nations from gaining power. Military officials are permitted to use aggressive and threatening language.


  • Embark on aggressive military-based cyber-spying and harassment to enter private and public computers around the world to gain information or create havoc. For example, U.S. newspapers have been attacked as have government computers.
Many of us are perplexed with China’s incivility and obstinacy. It is rather frustrating to have China sitting on rocks so close to the Philippine coast. Most Filipinos I am sure wish China would simply get off the rocks and go away.

She won’t.

Even if the Philippines wins its UN arbitration, there is no enforcement mechanism, and China can explain away everything with sharp, challenging words condeming anyone who is not on the China path

I don’t see a Philippines that has its act wholly together to deal with that. Most people just watch Secretary Del Rosario push back. One man with a tough job. Some seem to help China, whether inadvertently or purposefully, I can’t tell.

The U.S. defense agreement is crucial to Philippine well-being. But even knowledgeable people like Senators Legarda and Santiago are busy driving wedges between the US and Philippines over something as trivial as a boat stuck on a reef (not trivial in terms of the value of reefs; trivial in terms of the shake-out in world order that is occurring).

I’ve argued that the Philippines should stand up for its own interests and use the might of the U.S. as a defensive backstop in case China’s greed goes beyond intimidation and “occupancy around the edges”, as is now occurring. It need not bow to the U.S. because its interests are perfectly aligned with those of America. The two nations should be doing more to put this alliance together properly. As I’ve written:
  • People like Senator Santiago should sit down and shut up about the VFA. If there is a need to renegotiate it, do so out of the hearing of the sensationalist press.
  • People like Senator Legarda should think about the bigger and more important national strategy of building a strong defensive alliance rather than engage in public acts (possibly so that she, personally, can gain votes) that disparage that alliance, as she proposes to do with hearings about the Tubbataha incident.
  • The awkward coordination that is occurring regarding Tubbataha between the U.S. and Philippines is a horrible representation of a strong alliance. The U.S. is secretive. The Philippines is trying to project that it is in charge of things, the top dog in the matter. No, no, people. Everything you do should be structured to prove that this is an effective TEAM. That both nations are on the same TEAM.


But those issues can be set aside for now.
I would like to suggest an initiative that can be driven entirely by the Philippines that will counter China’s ridiculously offensive aggression.
  • The Philippines should slip into the economic hole that is being created between China and Japan. Find every instance where Japan is manufacturing in China now and try to get that company to move to the Philippines.
Concurrently, get the Philippine industrial welcome in order. Designate where the firms can relocate to on an expedited basis (Subic, or near Clark where Yokohama already has a plant, in Cavite where Japanese companies are looking to set up shop, and elsewhere within the Philippines). Make sure those locations are set to accelerate and assist relocations, not throw up short-sighted roadblocks seeking near-term fees from companies coming in. Indeed, GIVE value rather than try to squeeze the Japanese companies. Offer tax incentives to ease the cost of relocating. MARKET the Philippines.
As for the 40% ownership requirement, establish a national trust to own the Philippine 60% of each company, funded in partly by the Japanese companies themselves and partly by the Philippine government with the trust run like an investment bank. That is, the trust would not be engaged in the running of the business proper, but would be engaged in monitoring the company’s finances and operations so that investor money (Philippine taxpayer money) would be properly cared for.
If Philippine investment bankers and attorneys can’t figure out how to structure such an animal, call in American investment banking expertise. They can paper over anything, even Constitutions.
Japanese manufacturing companies may not be the only targets for such a strategic initiative. South Korea may also prefer to establish manufacturing plants in a nation backstopped by American reasonableness, over Chinese self-serving craziness. Or American companies whose executives recognize that things in China are going south.
And service companies will also come over behind the manufacturing companies (banks, insurers, etc., Philippine laws permitting).
If China wants to destabilize relations with other nations, the Philippines should go after the available jewels the way China goes after Philippine resources.
Purposefully. Without hesitation or regret.

China need not be the only nation with a predatory strategy.

18 Responses to “The Philippines Should Turn Predator, Like China”
  1. J says:

    Wow, Joe, excellent suggestion on how to skirt the stupid 60-40 rule!

  2. Yes, it's similar to how I bought my first property here in the Philippines when I did not have a wife to sign the documents. Ownership was under a trust agreement, with a Filipino, and I directed the trust.

  3. Absolutely G-E-N-I-U-S. Philippines could trade the TRUST in Wall Street. See, in America DEBTS as RECEIVABLES are bundled and traded. Though, these traded debts&receivables are the cause of American economic implosion, FILIPINOS COULD BE SMARTER TO LEARN FROM AMERICANS. THAT IF FILIPINOS CAN LEARN AND WANT TO LEARN. Gosh, I am just too cynical!!!WHAT IF these trusts are traded and BOUGHT BY THE CHINESE TRADERS? These debt instruments should not be traded after all.

  4. The problem of foreign investors with Filipinos is THEY ARE JUST TOO ENVIRONMENTALLY and ECOLOGICALY FRIENDLY. Filipinos would rather die of hunger sitting on unexplored oil and minerals.Another problem with foreign investors with Filipinos is, THEY APPROVE BUSINESS PERMIT. Once they are building the site here comes the Filipinos waiving the green flag. The government stops site development. Investors go back to the drawing board. Presents it. Govt approve it. Then green waiving again from Filipinos. So, ZTE has to come across to oil the bureaucracy.

  5. You touch on the very real traditional impediment to getting good work done. The insertion of clammy, greedy hands into the works. That was what I was driving at in terms of marketing the Philippines and keeping out those opportunists who would, for short term gain, stick their clammy palms into the deal. Fees, taxes, kickbacks, whatever. The focus should be on getting manufacturing to the Philippines for long-term wealth creation, and keep the greedy short-term opportunists out. Establishing this as a national program, with specific rules, might help do that.

  6. andrew lim says:

    Amen to all this. Critical would be how fast and decisive govt could draw up the framework (legal, business, technical, etc) to handle this. On a different matter, I highly recommend watching "Game Change", an HBO film on the 2008 VP campaign of Sarah Palin. Julianne Moore is a dead ringer for Palin and Ed Harris for McCain is also great. It will make you cringe how an incompetent candidate could make it that far.They went as far as having Palin just memorize her responses to issues, since it was obvious she couldnt understand them- esp. economics and foreign policy. And it will also make you cry that in the Philippines political jokes can get elected. At least they are outed in the US early on.

  7. Edgar Lores says:

    1. At last, sound non-military tactics to implement strategy that aims to protect and to develop.2. I don’t see these tactics as predatory because we are not coveting anything that is not ours. We are expanding engagement, not in terms of territory, but in terms of shared economic development.2.1 The thrust into manufacturing should diminish and undercut the base of China’s ascension. It would have the added bonus of creating jobs and reducing the overreliance on OFW remittances. The country’s GDP per capita is less than half of China’s – $2345 vs. $5400 – and less than the neighbouring countries of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The country is well-positioned to offer cheap skilled labour – a position that Japan and China once occupied.2.2 The productivity of the OFW worker is admired worldwide. The growth of the local BPO industry is indicative of potential.3. So defensive alliances with the US, Australia, Japan and other Asean countries that are involved in a sea dispute with China, and economic alliances with the US, Japan and South Korea. The recipe for success according to Joe Am.4. On a side note, I had the thought that aggression of the awakening dragon is a reaction to foreign domination and humiliation in the past. The abuse suffered during the so-called Opium Wars and the Rape of Nanking must rankle. Then there’s the inability of the dragon to swallow Taiwan, which is just one snatching claw away, due to US protectionism. 4.1 This is not to excuse the aggression, just to understand part of it.4.2 Now that the dragon is growing, it is turning into a bully nation, and exhaling fire. This bullying strength has been partly engendered by the world’s lack of outrage on Tibet, where the dragon practiced sharpening its claws. It is also partly due to the world’s silence on cyber hacking, where the dragon continues to insert probing talons, not only to detect weaknesses, but to steal military and commercial secrets and knowhow.4.3 I am certain that the US is fully aware of these incursions and has, no doubt, developed or is developing counter measures. The US military strategy has always been to ignore intention and to respect capability. And it has always kept its most advanced capabilities under wraps. The Stuxnet virus is one indication of US capability in cyber technology.4.4 The folly of Chinese strategy – and Asian mentality in general – is to steal and copy American technology in submarines, aircraft carriers and satellites. Copycats will always be several steps behind. Woe unto us if China decides – and if America allows it – to leapfrog into the future.

  8. Palin was indeed a disaster. And McCain has the audacity to criticize Obama's appointments.I think Philippine jokes are elected because people don't know how to look for qualifications. The broad electorate, that is. The name is the qualification. So the number of boxing belts qualifies a person to write Philippine laws.

  9. Chinese folly indeed, to be so comparatively weak militarily yet so aggressive. If I were the US leaders, I would take a hard stand on China now, rather than when she is built up stronger, militarily. The audacity is over the top now, this overt, state-sponsored theft and cyber snooping. The US stategy to coddle China in hopes that she would open her global-citizen eyes obviously has not worked. It has encouraged the arrogance we see rising now.China is not a responsible global citizen. Period.

  10. GDI says:

    The issue of corruption: In the Philippines it's called corruption; in other Asian countries it's called "Standard Operating Procedure". That's why we rarely read of corruption in other Asian countries, even though they sometimes extort more than our officials do.The thing is that the corrupt leaders in other Asian countries know the long-term goal, and while they dip their hands in the cookie jar they don't take more than is noticeable and make sure the project pushes through.Philippine corrupt leaders on the other hand tend to grab the entire cookie jar, leaving nothing left for the project to actually proceed. This seems to be changing, though the Philippines still has a reputation as a highly corrupt society. It will take the equivalent of multiple successive Nonoy administrations to rub that impression off.Now to the topic at hand: what I don't get is that "Chinabots" (e.g. 50-cent army/paid posters) whenever they engage in discourse sour the image of China even further. I thought their goal is to 1.) monitor/control internal opinion and 2.) shape outside opinion in favor of China. But whenever they get into arguments, they always end up doing personal attacks / character assassination of other forum posters. I just don't get it — sure argue to defend China, but after months and years of reading pro-China and anti-China discourse on the internet I would rather not talk to any Chinese netizen ever, period. My image of the Chinese internet poster is as persistently negative as the world prevailing image of the PHL government.Some people in defense forums have hinted that perhaps China is waging a psychological war in allowing their hawks to talk shit so freely. You know before the UN Arbitration decision was released to the press I saw the press package of it and it had the words "China is a friend. Going to court peacefully is what friends do." and it was hard for me to swallow why the PHL govt is even bothering trying to sugarcoat with words. Not so China: "This includes Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, who are the three running dogs of the United States in Asia. We only need to kill one, and it will immediately bring the others to heel."And when I research for China's true intentions, it's to become number one, the Middle Kingdom — essentially to take over the world. So I'm like speechless since I'm not sure if I'm watching Binky and the Brain on Animaniacs or some Saturday morning Disney Cartoon.Maybe it's time to apply the rules of Physics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So if China is indeed engaging in psychological warfare on the populace of other countries, those citizens can fight back with a social media smear campaign. In fact I know one Japanese guy who owns the most popular english language anime portal and makes it standard procedure to have articles that mock China, it's citizens and products at every opportunity. I'm thinking what a smart man, I should follow suit.

  11. GDI, good of you to visit and comment. You track along with my thinking precisely. I have a blog for Monday featuring China's "Unit 61398". I think we are at the beginning of low-level cyber influence, which is a stage before cyberwar."So I'm like speechless since I'm not sure if I'm watching Binky and the Brain on Animaniacs or some Saturday morning Disney Cartoon." Yep. I laugh, but it's not that funny when you consider the Chinese take themselves so very very seriously.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Your ideas will certainly change things.

  13. I don't know. It depends on if they somehow leap the gap between idea and act. That is someone else's job, the doing of acts. My job is quite easy. Theirs is hard.

  14. I thought corruption is S.O.P. in the Philippines. In China, when they steal, they do not bring the money abroad. They plow it back into the economy by building corporations.In the Philippines, when they steal, they bring it to Vegas. Whatever they bring to Vegas stays in Vegas. They also buy real properties in America. Because having a 2nd property in America is cool and hip and sign of avant garde bourgeous. They call it "vacation home". Lookit Mrs. Lapid and Corona. Children of Gen Garcia. Corrupt Filipinos are only goot in buying properties. GREAT LEADERS IN THE PHILIPPINES ARE CHINESE … errrr …. Filipinos but Chinese DNA.

  15. Philippines is the first fron line of economic defense against the U.S. Vietnam cannot be bamboozled by the Chinese. Vietnam defeated Chinese human wave after Vietnam defeated Americans. Chinese is definitely afraid of Japan & South Korea.Philippines will and can contain Chinese expansionist policy.

  16. The U.S. should pick and support, with money, a Philippine presidential candidate that can continue the fight of benign0 Aquino.If the U.S. can do it in Chile, pre-Ayatollah Iran, Noreiga and others they can do it in the Philippines, too.Rue the day when Filipinos are allowed to vote with their screwed intelligence.

  17. Andrew, here is a joke.A U. S. Navy destroyer stops four Mexicans in a row boat rowing towards California The Captain gets on the loud- hailer and shouts, "Ahoy, small craft. Where are you headed?" One of the Mexicans puts down his oar, stands up, and shouts, "We are invading the United States of America to reclaim the territory taken by the USA during the 1800's." The entire crew of the destroyer doubled-over in laughter. When the Captain is finally able to catch his breath, he gets back on the loud-hailer and asks, "Just the four of you?" The same Mexican stands up again and shouts, "No, we're the last four. The rest are already there!"

  18. Ahahahahaha, yes, about 12 million at last count.

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