A right proper foreign policy for the Philippines


American warship at Subic

By Joe America

Kindly excuse the frustration and ‘attitude’ demonstrated herein. It’s not my fault. he he

It seems pretty clear that the Duterte Administration does not believe in transparency but prefers the power that comes from keeping others confused and off balance. An FOI with 161 exceptions reflects the Administration’s approach to candor.

The President’s spokespeople are always blaming the media and citizens for not interpreting the President’s messages correctly. I guess “fuck you” is supposed to be reconfigured by the audience to mean diplomatic consideration. Unfortunately, we are not smart enough to do this, and those same spokespeople know it. They are just spinning us, blowing smoke up citizens’ skirts because full-on groping might draw objection from the ICC.

In this vein, we cannot possibly comprehend what the President intends to do with his foreign policy. He says his intent is independence, but it is a peculiar independence that objects to American interference regarding human rights while apparently accepting Chinese occupation of Philippine economic territory. He says one thing, then another, and the DFA and Defense secretaries say something quite different. He has former President Ramos played like a ping pong ball, now for the Duterte programs, now against, now for.

I can’t do this chaotic rigmarole any more. I want certainty. Stability. Knowledge. Confidence. Transparency. Forthright honesty.

Even if I have to design it myself.

Accordingly, I have drawn up my own proposed foreign policy that attempts to cut through the crap and do what the standing government has refused to do. Tell us what is going on.

My proposed policy contains three main platforms: (1) sovereignty, under international law, (2) absolute independence and political neutrality, and (3) robust, mutually beneficial business ties with many partner nations. This foreign policy does not have an offensive military initiative because the Philippines is committed to peace and would find building or buying “strike” military armaments counterproductive. The nation has way too much poverty and should be building hospitals, infrastructure and industrial parks instead of rockets and bombs.

It should probably also be doing those things instead of running a massive propaganda campaign. But that’s a domestic issue, even if it seems foreign to be gaming one’s own citizens.

Under my proposed foreign policy, the Philippines will build a smart, contained defensive military capacity that will make adventurism by other nations or intruders extraordinarily costly. Defense is strictly a domestic initiative, highly secret, and will be addressed in broad terms in a separate write-up. Policing the seas around the Philippines will also be a domestic enterprise.

Philippine Foreign Policy

The Philippines has a conflicted history of occupation, abuse and poverty. The nation has never truly been the architect of her own independence. We will change that. The Philippines is not an owned resource to any nation but Filipinos. We are not a political, military, or economic football for any country. We will establish partnerships with many nations, but none can claim the Philippines as “theirs” on any terms but mutual agreement.

We appreciate and respect the many positive programs brought to the Philippines by the United States. We are part American. But we are not “in your camp” as a prized pawn, an example of democracy in Asia. We are not an extension of American politics or moral bearing. We are also not an extension of your military enterprise. We belong to us.

We admire and respect the growing prominence of China in global affairs. We are part Chinese. Your good health is our good health. But we are not a plastic soldier to push around on your military maps. Nor are we mountains for you to mine at will, or seas for you to exploit without regard for the well-being of our citizens. We are not heathens, and we insist on courtesy and respect. That can be the only basis for partnership.

Sovereignty under international law

The United Nations exists in part to protect small states from the adventurism of large and powerful states. Laws protect our boundaries and our peoples. We subscribe to these international rules because they assure that we remain sovereign masters of our own destiny.

We cannot compromise on this point. Our Constitution and our conscience will not permit it. We are Filipino, we are proud, and we belong only to us. As assured by laws.

Absolute independence and political neutrality

Our Constitution is a platform for peace. Some may see this, and our poverty, as signs of weakness. That would be a huge, huge mistake.

Our people are passionate, and sometime angry . . . history has been difficult . . . but it is an anger constrained by hope. Our job, as leaders of the nation, is to direct that passion to production, and nurture that hope through robust economic growth, employment, greater personal prosperity, and security for our citizens.

Nations that try to exploit our peoples will come quickly to understand the passion, and the costs of adventurism.

We welcome partnering with others who respect our separate integrity and independence, and who accept that our political affairs are ours to manage. We have absolutely no ambition to interfere with the autonomous affairs of other states, and we insist that other states not interfere with ours.

International agencies and courts are available to us to resolve any disputes that may arise. We will use them if we believe it is necessary.

Robust, mutually beneficial business ties with many partner nations

The Philippines can serve her peoples best by actively participating in the global marketplace of business and cultural exchange. Although poor in economic terms, the nation is rich in human capacity, character, and culture, and we are rich in resources. We can compete.

The Philippines has no enemies. We are completely neutral, politically. Economically, we will aspire to compete fairly and well. We seek to have many, many productive international partnerships that will allow our citizens to prosper through trade, jobs, tourism, and cultural exchanges. We intend to become an agricultural powerhouse, and supplier of energy to our own and neighboring states. We intend to produce and build value-added wealth that will elevate the Philippines to modern living standards. We will help our partner nations achieve their commercial and development aspirations.

We will adapt to climate change and respond to natural disasters as one with our partners, helping them as they have helped us in the past.

Specific actions following from this policy

Given this policy, we will pursue the following steps in concert with our Legislative and Judicial branches:

  1. We will terminate the Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States, as it is outdated and vague as to specific actions that follow from it. We also don’t wish to be bound to support American military engagements should a militarily aggressive US find its ships or lands attacked. This would be a violation of our peace and neutrality charter.
  2. We will seek to reconfigure the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States as a treaty (Defense Cooperation Treaty) that recites specifically the circumstances under which the United States and Philippines will engage militarily. We will ask the US Congress to ratify this treaty so that it is not politicized from one administration to the next, and we will also ask our own Legislature and Judiciary to approve the Treaty. We would expect the following elements to be addressed in the document, among others:
    • Making mutually agreed Philippine ports and naval service facilities and functions accessible to the United States.
    • Identifying programs under which the Philippines can acquire technological and weaponry gear and training from the United States.
    • Leasing from one to three properties to the United States to complement the regional and satellite intelligence efforts of the US, in exchange for information of value to the defense of the Philippines against natural disasters, international terrorism, commercial or ecological damage to seas, or military adventurism by unfriendly states.
    • Cite a general, but non-binding, interest and willingness of the two states to support one another militarily should an occasion arise in which either is attacked by an unfriendly state.
  3. We will seek to establish a Defense Cooperation Treaty with China along terms similar to that with the US, and may also construct agreements with Japan and other neighboring states. The agreement with China will feature the following elements, among others:
    • Making mutually agreed Philippine ports and naval service facilities and functions accessible to China.
    • Identifying programs under which the Philippines can acquire technological and weaponry gear and training from China.
    • Leasing from one to three properties to China to complement the regional and satellite intelligence efforts of China, in exchange for information of value to the defense of the Philippines against natural disasters, international terrorism, commercial or ecological damage to seas, or military adventurism by unfriendly states.
    • Cite a general, but non-binding, interest and willingness of the two states to support one another militarily should an occasion arise in which either is attacked by an unfriendly state.
  4. We will oppose the development of artificial structures within the lawful Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone without the approval of the Philippine Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. We will use every means at our disposal to defend sovereign Philippine territorial and economic rights.
  5. We will relocate Filipino civilian and military personnel from Pagasa Island and go through the formal process of transferring the island to China based on an exchange of like values agreed to by both parties. We will consider other concessions if and as proposed by interested parties.
  6. We will review bilateral or group trade pacts carefully and seek to amend or approve terms so that they satisfy our interests.
  7. We will cooperate with other states to end outside incursions and terrorist activities within the Philippines, and within other nations.
  8. We will cooperate with other states to better prepare for and respond to climate change and natural disasters.
  9. We will advocate for free and open seas and air space throughout the South China, West Philippine, and Philippine Seas, and encourage all concerned parties to work cooperatively to assure unhindered travel through these spaces, as has been the case historically.


264 Responses to “A right proper foreign policy for the Philippines”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    This is beyond powerful.

    • andy ibay says:

      This may be is out of topic and NOT down to earth;
      more atmospheric unreadable intellect up somewhere
      when morally and politically correct people of stratus berth
      had their tales between their legs. Never are so many shake
      in their boots perhaps correctly this time because
      not even few but only two like earthquakes of intensity 8
      seek to demolish the pantheons of establishment.

      Sorry? What’s it again eh? For two days in simultaneity I listened through cyberspace to the speech of PRESDU30 for the many Filipinos (OFW conquerors) in Brunei showed with glee their approbation for their President : When you go home and at the airport and somebody ask you for money, SAMPALIN NYO, P*T**G IN*. A Visayan AJ fresh from home visit said: I am surprised the airports are cleaned no more littering. You mean cleaned floors and toilets? I asked. Yes for toilets, but surprisingly no more human litter of the two legged kinds in barongs and in police and sikyu uniforms. So unlike Manila before.

      Because PRESDU30’s speech of incomplete sentences, understood even without subjects only predicates in insulting vitriols seems to continue without end, I am reminded of the anecdote of Dr. CS’s then Rizal Provincial Veterinarian in the mid sixties about consultancy work in the most populous country in Southeast Asia. Dr. CS said they passed by mid day a town where the President was speaking before a big crowd. When they passed again the place by late afternoon the President was still standing, speaking before now a multitude. Perhaps as media wrote on him President Sukarno was the first President for Life accepted by his people in the whole of Asia.

      I read too in the papers that on a visit to the White House when Sukarno was made to wait a long time by beloved Ike E, he left in a huff and flew by his plane direct to Moscow which gladly receive him pronto. Sukarno just told media: I am head of State too of a populous country (was it 100 million at that time like the Filipinos now?). I should not be treated that way. Urban legend is it Eh? No, no, no. I am not comparing PRESDU30 with Sukarno, suggestive of a far fetch celestial connection.

      • andy ibay says:

        Then last night I watched the third and last debate between Donald and Hillary, more respectful between Trump and Clinton, both USA presidential candidates. I read too a splattering of comments in cyber media. What comes to mind is to download all info, pros and cons, die hards and livelihood pieces and wish they can be published in a book where Part One will be for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump and Part Two for Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton. Will it be preposterous to say that 70% of the pages will be Part One and Part Two will be 30% to include even the Bibliography and Index.

        If that becomes a fact and symbolic if not prognostic, it will be dire tragic for Mr. Donald and propitious for Ms. Hillary and the establishment. WHATEVER good or bad it will mean to the people of America. Believers and apostles of Mr. Trump if he wins against prim and proper establishment may then say those who promised to leave their country should be treated as people NOT without a country but losers in a big contest. For Mr. Trump to be kind to the vanquished.

        In the ultimate faulty analysis what gives is to know the sides where their bread is buttered. The establishment knows the proper side and certainly don’t go hungry like the masses and make their pile. When to stay or leave is at issue like in the UK people choose gratitude to those and where they get their stashed. And of course for the noblest of reasons.

      • sonny says:

        Also observed:

        a) ditto the ‘very clean’ NAIA; no ‘bodies’ at the final customs gate, we just zipped thru.

        b) zig-zag barricades at provincial town limits; fully armed inspectors; eyeball profiling of passengers, we were in a van, 3 senior citizens got a wave-off.

        • andy ibay says:

          In the UNIVERSE everything may have been created UNIVERSAL like the rising and setting sun (sankamap and sandaun in Melanesian Tok Pisin). Everything that comes up must come down in obedience to God’s Law of Gravity. Like the Guerra on Droga, up it will go to each plateau, then slide to stay down until it returns to the atmosphere or subterranean of history. Life moves and goes on in chemistry and physics of the UNIVERSE to genuflect before God’s sciences and the arts.

          So also the inevitable takes over when leaders must follow their followers, for the first must be the last in war and even in peace. Duterte’s Droga war may have reached its peak and its plateau, now in its bivouac, soon it must leave, descend from its high ground to look for another skirmish to climb to earn its pay. But everyone and everything in their galaxies culminates like the clouds plummet down as rains from the dictates of the Law of Lord Gravity.

          Even Seniors will be tempted to ask the astronauts : Will there be so much pain in old knees, shoulders and hip bones if there is weightlessness and no pull of gravity? National leaders oftentimes are so much pain like old knees and hip bones even to the young. HAH, Leaders like everyone else HAVE THEIR SANDAUN.

  2. NHerrera says:

    This I buy —


    1. We are part American
    1.1 We appreciate and respect the many positive programs brought to the Philippines by the United States
    1.2 We are not an extension of American politics or moral bearing

    2. We are part Chinese
    2.1 Your good health is our good health
    2.2 But we are not a plastic soldier to push around on your military maps.

    3. ON THE UN — we subscribe to international rules because they assure that we remain sovereign masters of our own destiny.

  3. Mar dela Cruz says:

    what must be a very compelling reason why should we plan or even think of handling PAGASA to China????? exchanging it to anything is no difference with duterte’s plan of getting business and trains from china in exchange of the Scarborough shoal.

    • Could be that Joe has learned something from Duterte – that to get sleepy Filipinos to really discuss an issue, you have to annoy them with something truly outrageous.

      Otherwise it’s just ho-hum, on with the pabebe and the hugot, smiles and Chicken Joy.

    • It is a placeholder in the document that indicates PH willingness to find tangible solutions to the territorial issues, and it states clearly PG sovereignty. Pagasa and other locations are OURS.

  4. Gemino H. Abad says:

    MANY THANKS, Joe, for such a sober foreign policy as proposed!! Our partnership with any nation shall be based on mutual respect for each one’s sovereignty and national interest in light of international law. We are no one’s pawn in geopolitics. China’s refusal to abide by the International Court’s decision (she refused to participate in the Court’s deliberations) should be condemned by all peace-loving nations.

  5. edgar lores says:

    Looks good except for some sticking points:

    3. Why offer naval services and facilities?

    3.1. At the economic level, I have no qualms actively trading with China. But I balk at the military level. I would prefer a passive military relationship.

    3.2. China continues to intimidate Japan over ownership of the Senkaku islets over which Japan exercises administrative control.

    3.3. It may be that China is the next superpower, but we should seek to contain China and have defense treaties with Japan, Vietnam, Australia and India.

    5. Why give away Pagasa Island? As I understand it, the island is currently occupied by Filipinos. What is the trade off?

    10. The Philippines should have unrestricted and accessible fishing rights in the West Philippine Sea.

    • karlgarcia says:

      The idea is to give them EDCA privilege,and we give access to bases .
      Thoughyou gave your reasons from 3.1 onwards
      To me this is giving them all the benfits of the doubt which to me will always be less than full trust.(whatever that means)

      5. China demanded evacuation or else force eviction.

      number 5 is to de-escalate the tensions of the dispute.

      Chempo said Singapore asserted their rights in a disputed island with Malaysia by placing some structures,but these are more than structures,there are peopleinvolved.
      We all know how hard it is to give up your home or get evicted.

      We are all learning to be diplomats here.

      • chemrock says:

        Karl by having structures n some form of visitation or occupation the court surmised administrative control was actually exercised by one party. That’s a strong point in arguments of ownership.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Thanks Chemrock!
          China wans the Filipinos in pag-a island to leave,based on the arguments you laid down,it seems that the Filipinos should stay put.


    • 3. Defense of the PH. Nukes without the nukes in a world that is not peaceful.

      5. A bone for China to chew on. See my comment elsewhere.

      10. Yes.

      • sonny says:

        I agree to these 3 points. I also can see that a good foreign policy as you mentioned should be able to convincingly give answers to questions regarding these 3 big realities faced by the country.

        There is much to consider in covering the metaphors from edgar, caliphman and yourself. This blog-installment is worth, IMO, a serious explore & debate series among students of poli-sc and foreign affairs.

        • sonny says:

          re: nukes in a non-peaceful world

          Seems like the WPS is in a strategic struggle between US & PRC called A2/AD. Are DND & DFA aware of this?


          re: a bone for China to chew on

          Someone in TSH mentioned that ethnic Chinese in Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are not looked upon as part of any Chinese leverage. If this is true then we should look at our own Chinese relationship in a cultural and economic light as in Africa and So America.

          re: unrestricted freedom of access to WPS (& Sulu Sea)

          It makes total sense to develop our own maritime and fishing capabilities (partnerships with other maritime powerhouses, e.g. labor or national subsidies to current homegrown maritime facilities in Subic & Mindanao maybe)

    • I agree with the broad strokes in Joe’s proposal the details are the sticking points. Same reservations with pagasa.

    • karlgarcia says:

      More on 3 and Joe’s answer reminded me of something.

      Chemrock had this quick survey in fb on who will push the button first.

      If any nuclear power pushes the button,the nearest country to us with an impeccable missile defense is China.

      • NHerrera says:

        Let us just hope that the one that pushes that button is not of the same mold as that crazy and loudmouth north of Panmunjom.

  6. http://www.rappler.com/nation/149437-nica-intelligence-report-scarborough-shoal-china-fake-website?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=referral.. meanwhile in the real world… 😦 😀

    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – An intelligence report from the Philippines’ top intelligence gathering agency turned out to be based on a fake news website.

    This was revealed by Senator Richard Gordon in a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Monday, October 17, as he criticized the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

  7. Trillanes actually wrote a bill that could establish a foreign policy advisory board, a panel of subject matter experts, who will advise PRD so he can make better foreign policy decisions. I do not know if PRD and his administration will be slighted by the bill or will welcome Trillanes’ efforts in assisting the executive branch in organizing the pell mell state of its current foreign policies.

    “Trillanes’ Senate Bill 1141 seeks to create a Foreign Policy Advisory Board (FPAB) under the Office of the President “to provide advice and recommendations on foreign policy formulations, and ensure a system of checks and balances” with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).”


  8. Juana Pilipinas says:

    Is this the state of intelligence gathering in PH? National intelligence, is this case is an absolute oxymoron. A satire website as a proof in a Senate hearing? Is this the same intelligence agency that provided the House with the RedTube De Lima sex tape? When will WE get it together?


    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      *in this case is an absolute oxymoron

    • NHerrera says:

      It is right for Gordon to upbraid the Nica on that, but sadly it is like “the Sieve saying to the Needle — you have a hole in your head” considering his statement and behavior on the Senate Investigation of EJK and his hint on the forthcoming Senate Report on that.

  9. NHerrera says:

    A side note to the world of foreign affairs and diplomacy

    Here is an article of Asif Ahmad — who evolved from a diplomat’s son to an English teacher to a commercial banker to the world of diplomacy to his present post as the British Ambassador. It fortifies the importance of words and deliberate action in the complex world of foreign affairs.

    (I see some parallel of Da Boss of this blog in his development as a soldier, as a marketer, as a banker to the blogging world involving culture, country sensitivities, politics, the world of foreign affairs. Learning from one part of the journey to the other.)


  10. Throwback to the highly complex diplomacy of postwar Germany…

    1945-1949: 4 powers occupation, military governors.

    1949: The Federal Republic is founded in the Western zones, the GDR in the Soviet zone.

    1955: Stalin overture – neutrality for unity – is rejected by Adenauer. Austria gets full sovereignty back in exchange for neutrality, four zone occupation (The Third Man movie shows it) ends. The official stance of the Federal Republic remains Germany in the borders of 1937.

    1970s: Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik. As former Mayor of (West) Berlin, Brandt is familiar with the mindset of the GDR. A Solomonic solution is found, “Permanent Representative Offices” between the two German states instead of Embassies, separate Olympic teams, both join the UN (!)

    1990: Helmut Kohl, 2+4 treaty. The trade-off is that the Federal Republic relinquishes its claim to the borders of 1937 and gives the Soviet Union money to build housing for its troops that leave. Germany has full sovereignty, but for a few years there are still Soviet troops in the East (!) – another part of the deal is no non-German NATO troops in the “New Federal States”. Germany is allowed to stay part of NATO. What is not yet foreseeable is that the Eastern European states join NATO later on because they feel threatened by Russia – which makes Russia feel unsafe in turn…

    • NHerrera says:

      Complex but the Germans got it together in the end, a happy ending. I just hope the present fragile (?) EU doesn’t give Germany another complexity but the Germans have a highly developed logical (technical/ practical?) brain.

      • An engineering mindset definitely helps… Chancellor Bismarck, after reuniting Germany in 1871, knew that he had to be an “honest broker” because of the country’s exposed geography. Emperor Wilhelm II threw out Bismarck and thought otherwise – he was not a good statesman, provoked the English by being too ambitious in building his fleet and in acquiring colonies. He did have a good idea, realized later by Kohl, that Germany should have the US as its main ally – but said it openly, which in those times was a big mistake.

        Post-1990, there was Schröder who was a bit anti-US (his provocations against Dubya Bush were popular among left-leaning and nationalistic groups) but cause enormous dismay when he approved the sale of Ruhrgas to Gazprom, and then JOINED Gazprom just after leaving the Chancellorship – that was the final blow even for his diehard supporters. I was a Schröder supporter in the beginning (we who were mostly those rising were also rude, deliberately, to provoke the established crowd) but had turned away earlier. Merkel – she is a child of East German communism, so she is tailormade for this age of despots, deals with Putin, Erdogan and Xi Jinping in the cautious way the East German opposition survived. The next challenge – dealing with Brexit, realigning the new EU…

  11. NHerrera says:

    Meantime back at Uncle Sam’s Ranch

    Got this Poll of Polls from BBC.


    (The BBC poll of polls looks at the five most recent national polls and takes the median value, ie, the value between the two figures that are higher and two figures that are lower.)

    With three weeks to go that 10% gap seems formidable. Halving that to 5% is still significant.

    • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

      So Hillary is winning. I think it is good that we too will only choose among two presidentiables at the end, to backtract, it would be Duterte vs. Roxas. Then it would be really clear that it is a majority choice.

      • NHerrera says:

        Goodness. You seem to be carrying some unique compass that points to Dear Leader Duterte. Can you lay off buttering up to your beloved Duterte for a short while. Relax lang. The sun does not rise or settle only for Duterte. It shines for you and your family too, you know.

  12. Francis says:

    Your openmindedness is impeccable. Truly. I respect that.

    One of the weaknesses of liberalism in this country is its overly sentimental, uncritical and child-like attachment and association to America and the West. If Duterte and the Pro-China crowd bring out the angry teenager in our country, then the almost-religious “America is our Big Brother” line that you get from some of the liberal persuasion is worse—a prepubescent child always waiting for kuya or ate. Yet, out of these two immaturities, people would naturally want the lesser immaturity: being an angry teenager is a more “advanced” state of mind than being a naive kid, all things considered.

    Not much “advanced” really. But, eh.

    Yet, with this article, you have moved Filipino Liberalism out of checkmate, as far as accusations of it being a prop to “neo-colonial US foreign policy puppetry” is concerned. You have presented an alternative foreign policy that allows for one to be both liberal and nationalist. A mature nationalism that respects the good in our ties to the West, but recognizes that we are an independent democracy with our people being the ultimate masters of their own fate.

    A nationalism fit for an (if young) adult nation.

    A mature nationalism that can frankly displace the fiery righteous anger of the “Anti-Imperialist” nationalism of the Left. It had a time—the 50s and 60s—where it was needed, as part of a young nation growing up. But we have far outgrown such things.

    For this paradigm shift—thank you.

    Just embarasses that an American had to say this to us, of all people! 🙂

    • Kindly detach any labels from my person. I don’t know what “liberalism” means, and don’t care. I am an individual, thinking things through. I don’t wish to have labels attached that pre-form other people’s opinions of me. You can even detach “American” from my person, as I think I have grown beyond that, as well, thanks to the rigors of trying to understand the Philippines. Just label me “Joe”, or “JoeAm”.

  13. edgar lores says:

    I have misgivings.

    In college, I was told in Political Science 101 that nations do not have permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

    This struck me as wrong because any consideration of morality does not enter into the equation. There is only self-interest.

    I have always thought that nations, like individuals, should not act purely out of self-interest but with a consideration for others. They should be guided by a sense of morality. And morality says do not hurt others… and do not take what is yours… and do not impose yourself upon others.

    The guiding principle of the suggested proper foreign policy seems, to me, to make accommodations to both the US and China not because we want to but because we have to… out of self-interest.

    The analogy is like this: I am a peaceful guy sandwiched between two powerful and aggressive neighbors. The neighbor on my right is a good guy, a close friend, who helps me a lot. So when he wants to wash his car using the faucet near my driveway, I let him park on my lawn and allow him to do so.

    Now, the neighbor on my left is not that much of a good guy. I have observed him stealing the fruits in my backyard, but we do have friendly exchanges in words and in kind. His car often needs a wash, but I note he goes to the expensive car wash at the mall. I also note he has observed my right-door neighbor freely using my facilities. At times, he has looked at me as if to ask something.

    Now, do I offer my left-door neighbor the same favor? I really don’t want to, but in the interest of maintaining neighborly peace, I feel I should make the offer?


    And what about making friends with the two superpowers to avoid being collateral damage in a shooting nuke war? It makes me feel like I have to maintain my genuine friendship with Senator De Lima but at the same time be seemingly friendly with Duterte.

    If it came down to the possibility of nuclear annihilation for most of mankind, I don’t feel it’s right for fractious Filipinos to carry the baton for the future of mankind. Well, maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps it is. We are the chosen.

    It would be all fun, fun, fun in the world. O rise ye world of happy fools!


    I don’t know, guys. Perhaps it’s just me. Don’t mind me. I am in my cups. But I do hate keeping up a pretense of friendship when, really, I don’t feel it.

    • On a personal basis, I am totally with you. This article is not what I would do. It takes what I am hearing from President Duterte and puts it into a framework that satisfies both pro-China and pro-American Filipinos. The main point is, why in God’s green earth is there no foreign policy statement that provides Filipinos with assurances, along with investors and allies? Why this horrid knee jerk shoot from the hip policy making? If some hick from the farms of Colorado can whip out a foreign policy statement in an hour and a half, what the Hell are Duterte, Yasay, Ramos, and the whole DFA and Defense staffs doing that they can’t professionalize foreign policy?

  14. caliphman says:


    There is some promise to Duterte’s approach of pursuing bilateral talks with China to ease the WPS crisis. The Chinese state news release states that the Hague ruling has no bearing on the discussions without elaborating on why. If it means that the Chinese are not insisting on the Philippines ceding its claims to sovereignity over the disputed Spratley above water or submerged rock formations, then that is a good sign. It is also interesting to know if this phrasing means that that China is not demanding that the Philippines throw away the favorable UNCLOS granting it sole EEZ rights over Panatag and recognize Chinese dominion over the geographic expanse defined by their 9 dash claim.

    It really depends what the talks are about and if its the return to the status quo before the Panatag crisis or figuring out how to normalize and strengthen relationships, then Duterte might be able to accomplish what Aquino and Trillanes failed at in defusing the hostile lose situation. Personally, I have a wait and see but positive iew on the outcome of these talks . I am leery of Duterte’s predilection think from the gut and shoot from the hip ( his mouth that is) to be wildly optimistic of his success as a diplomat. In fact, he scorns at being labeled a statesman and I scorn the idea that someone afflicted with Turrets would be outstanding at diplomacy.

    I read Joe’s ideas on what a good foreign policy for the Philippines might look like. I am positive on many of them except as a few have pointed out, the idea of vacating Filipinos from Pagasa is probably unnecessary if not unconstitutional.So is a military partnership or strategic alliance with
    China or Russia specially if it is to curry friendship , favor, or ask for aid. I do not understand how being a pawn allied less to the US and more to the Chinese/Russian hegemonists makes the country anything less than a pawn and worse a puppet state driven by power politics instead of by its values, traditions, national pride, and self-interest. This is why senators and congressmen are aligning with and toadying up to Duterte, not so unlike the new goodlooking inmate offering his services to those with the power and influence to protect him and better his lot in a world of need and uncertainty.

    • Ahahaha, the Philippines is a nation of inmates!!! Now we have to ascertain if the holding cell is in a prison or asylum. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Thanks for the news brief. Nice assessment, by the way.

      • caliphman says:

        A prison asylum might be more apropos…hehehe. Specially with a chief warden who acts as if he might have had one too many at times, is prone to launching vitriolic harangues and diatribes about surprising thoughts I sometimes wonder originate from voices he alone hears in his head. That and his huge following of dronish inmates dancing in lockstep to his tune. Those famous dancing prisoners from Cebu have nothing in their routines to match the performances playing in this asylum, no?

  15. NHerrera says:

    Re the post starting from edgar’s (October 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm) which gives edgar’s moral overlay on facets of Joe’s provocative blog — which swings the narrative to the other side, perhaps to the fringes of the extreme other side; clarified by Joe; and this recent hint of good news by Caliphman gives me a sigh of relief. That perhaps, by some luck, this new statue is being sculpted not too badly. I hope we don’t drop the ball.

  16. Oldmaninla says:

    Sabi ng Tatay ko, magaling salita, hindi magawa…..anong kwenta.
    All talk, no walk……………..just questioning? Hehehe……..

  17. karlgarcia says:


    The article is showcasing a book by FVR.
    This caught my attention, a fture without great-powers.
    A future world without great-power wars. The long tradition of friendship between the Philippines and China, and the continuing expansion of of our diplomatic and commercial exchanges will carry us safely beyond present-day tensions towards closer neighborliness, and our mutual and harmonious development as well.

    Both Beijing and Manila realize fully well our mutual need to preserve the continuous condition of stability that has made East Asia the world’s fastest growing region. And so does Washington, D.C.

    We believe that global interdependence, technology, and the emerging power balance offer us the possibility of a future world without great power wars.

    We believe that science, globalization, and people empowerment — plus the assertion of ordinary people of their political and human rights — are making wasteful and obsolete any future wars among the great powers. Increasingly, all our nations are linking their economies and politics with that of the modern, interdependent international community.

    The distribution of power in the world is changing undeniably, and in a basic way. The center of global gravity is moving away from the Atlantic – where it has been for the last 150 years – and shifting to the Pacific Ocean.
    And it is doing so, not so much because the West is weakening, either economically or militarily – but because other power centers are rising in relative strength – in Asia, in Latin America, and in Africa.

    “Since the most highly populated and most economically weighty of these stakeholders in the international system are Asian – particularly China, Japan, India, and Asean – the center of global gravity is moving eastward. By 2025, it is calculated that Asia is projected to be the home of three of the world’s largest economies. By then, China, India, and Japan will be sharing top honors with the U.S. and European Union.”

    A future without super powers would be great,but with the current events,I still do not feel that that future would be in my lifetime,but just the same,the rest of the world,will catchup with the super powers,let us join the ride.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks for the link karl.

      We have long historical link with China even before Magellan as the link cites. There is no dispute that both Philippines and China will benefit by re-establishing or strengthening that link — strained by recent events — in the coming years. The pestering question is do we at the same time scorn or diminish our link with the US and Europe. I hope the hearing on foreign relations you cited below will help us answer the question. As an analyst may say, it is not a zero sum game — and I mean this for China, the Philippines and the US. The world is so interconnected, to behave like the Western cowboys is not the way to go.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Irineo mentions Zero sum and tipping point many times.
        I too hope the tipping point is still far away, and the sum should always be greater than zero.
        Lastly, if the thing mentioned by Edgar about Friends and intetests was learned in school,then it was not Newt Gingrich who said that.

      • edgar lores says:

        Is the old China the same as the new China? Are we dealing with the same entity? And are we the same entity as well?

      • madlanglupa says:

        China in the ancient past was different from the China we see today.

        They used to trade with our ancestors, but not in the outright acquisition of territory unless it had to do with internal security of those far-flung kingdoms (i.e. portions of the Great Wall, intended to protect parts of the Silk Road).

    • Oldmaninla says:

      Karl, Excellent historical reading link article………excellent post…..

  18. karlgarcia says:


    The bill of Trillanes,was not mentioned, I hope Cayetano, notwithstanding their incident a few weeks ago, will still consider it, and I also wish they read this present blog article.

    Press Release
    October 4, 2016 0
    Bam: Senate to review gov’t foreign policy

    The Senate will soon conduct a review of the government’s foreign policy to clarify the direction it wants to take in terms of international relations, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

    Sen. Bam said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, expressed willingness to conduct a hearing on the matter.

    “There was openness on the part of Sen. Cayetano to have the hearing, so I hope he will schedule it soon,” said Sen. Bam, who filed a Senate Resolution No. 158, urging the government to clarify the country’s stand on different foreign policy issue. Sen. Bam stressed the urgency to conduct an investigation amid President Duterte’s threat to end the Philippines-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

    “Mahalagang malinawan tayo kung anong direksiyon ba ang nais tahakin ng pamahalaan pagdating sa foreign policy,” said Sen. Bam.

    Aside from the EDCA issues, government officials also issued contradicting statements on different foreign policy issues, such as joint maritime patrols and the stationed American troops in Mindanao.

    “I hope we can clear up these statements soon so that our strategies to protect our territory and develop our economy are aligned with the administration,” Sen. Bam stressed.

    As provided in Article 2, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution, Sen. Bam said a clear strategic foreign policy is integral to the country’s development.

    “Our relations with members of the international community have bearing on our ability to protect our territory and environment, develop our economy, and promote the welfare and well-being of our citizens,” Sen. Bam stressed.

  19. NHerrera says:


    The Filipino-Chinese merchants in our midst are fond of using double adjectives to name their stores:

    High Top
    Lucky Fortune
    Well Best

    The President before his journey to Brunei, thence to China used a double noun:

    “We have to look at the sum total of our relationship with China.”

    Which leads me to think that he seems to also look at the subtraction minus of our relationship with the US and EU.

    On another item — not so grand as the double noun of the President — I caught on TV a pronouncement that the police may from now on use a word different from Kill:

    Kill = Neutralize

    Which reminds me immediately of the good old spy and thriller novels:

    Kill = Neutralize = Terminate with extreme prejudice.

    • NHerrera says:

      The sum total of my feelings today is to watch the events or news — trying mightily to separate chaff from grain — that are reported or transpires locally and worldwide during and in the wake of The President’s visit to China. It seems like it will be a nice introductory chapter to a thriller novel.

      (We may be pleasantly surprised of a transformed President, Followed by less druggies neutralized. And no great subtraction minus to our relations with the US/EU.)

      • karlgarcia says:

        suma tutal,sobrang kalabisan,ngunit subalit datapwat.tila marahil

        redundancy abounds.

        back to China Deals.

        It seems that Philex mining’s joint exploration with Chinese partners on Reed Bank is pushing through.


        • sonny says:

          Karl, if the movie THE ACCOUNTANT is showing in Manila, watch it. I did this morning just to get the catharsis/escape I need from the realities around us.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I get to watch movies.
            Deep sea Horizon told me that this oil exploration is no joke, one miscalculation, then it is SNAFU.
            Sully,tought me that those fligh simulations means squat, and human error fault finding(how’s that for redundant) should always account for the human side of it.

            I will watch the accountant per your suggestion,Unc.

            • karlgarcia says:

              speaking of movies and Joe’s last post.
              I am reading the Inferno first, before watching it.

            • sonny says:

              SULLY was good. The simulators seem to lack some more input essential to complete the flying parameters, viz. that of the real-time feed from the memory bank of the pilot in actual flight. My second son designs algorithms for MRI (GE machines) and he mentioned algorithms for moving organs such as the heart more complex than stationary organs. By this I assume simulators have less complexity to work with. (I need to talk to him some more on this.)

  20. chemrock says:

    Every country has one general foreign policy, that is, to maintain friendly relations with all nations (except Norkor which views the world through myopic lenses).

    When an issue surfaces to the top of the agenda of relation between two nations, then the country must strategise a foreign policy specific to those issues.

    The tools for foreign policy design for super powers are diplomacy, foreign aid, and military. The tools available to weaker nations are diplomacy, neutrality, and seeking a balance of power in their neighbourhood.

    Neutrality is a status quo a weak nation adopts during a conflict between two or more nations. Certainly US and China are not in conflict here. The US interest is not Philippines but the freedom of navigation in the South China Seas which China’ s nine dash lines will frustrate. US interest is aligned with the rest of the world. China’s interest is vague. What is it that they are really trying to seek. It is when their objectives are understood can Philippines formulate a proper policy.

    Duterte’s leadership of ASEAN will likely sow seeds of discord amongst member nations. Whilst balance of power with US presence in the region has enabled peace and prosperity in the past few decades, Duterte alone has now by his action of breaking away from US and bringing China in, destabilized the region. What other ASEAN leaders like Soeharto, Lee KuanYew have helped to build in the last 30 years, Duterte destroyed within his first 100 days. Fortunately ASEAN chairmanship has a tenure of only one year.

    A Philippines policy to cozying up to China will be viewed with distrust by the other ASEAN members, and thus isolate the country.

    Joe’s proposal of opening up to both US and China is a dangerous game. We are inviting 2 elephants into the same playground. When 2 elephants make love, not to mention fight, our ground suffers. Has there ever been a precedence? I doubt it.

    Economic cooperation is not a problem. Neither China nor the US is going to be offended by any Philippines initiative with either countries. But military cooperation and associated arrangements are entirely different. Nobody is going to trust Philippines. As it is, with all those verbiage coming out of Dutertes’s mouth, Philippines can no longer be trusted by the US. This loss of trust is crucial. It means no more access to US high technology military weapons systems.

    Regarding Trillanes bill for a foreign policy panel – I disagree with this. The President is the country’s Chief Diplomat and there is already a diplomatic corps. Adding one more layer is going to bring more problems. Foreign policies are formulated in secrecy and by a small team. Having an advisory panel is bound to bring a lot of secret discussions into the public domain, given Filipino politicians’ propensity for drama.

    • NHerrera says:

      Chemrock’s Foreign Policy 101, Part 1. Thanks

    • NHerrera says:

      The local bluster or Mouse Roar on

      – joint oil exploration;
      – China-Philippine war games;
      – Filipino’s right to fish in disputed waters

      is not being borne out by early report.


      According to Yasay: “No, there is nothing, nothing about that.”

      Instead Yasay said — the President’s discussions with Chinese leaders would focus on improving the Philippines’ overall relations with China.

      • chemrock says:

        Methinks this visit is tying up deals re mining projects in Mindanao. Things are moving very fast down south. The Chinese arAree Coming. Good old AlGloria Arroyo announced 3billion dollar Chinese investment in mines coming our way. Their good pal ZTE also coming. Local partners queing up amongst this Philex onened by Romualdez – Marcos family. Those who voted for change are being shortchanged.

        • NHerrera says:

          I see. That is the tangible “bacon” he will bring home then. What a bacon, to select friends, that is. None to the poor fishermen. Oh well.

          • chemrock says:

            Oh for sure there will be ikan billies (Malay for small fishes – anchovies) for the fisherfolks and this will be publicised. Mine deals will be secrets.

        • Wary-waray says:

          Gina Lopez has not been in the radar lately.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Last seen when she was questioning the forced resignation of the usec that did the mining audits,just because he was a hold-over from the last administration.

            • Vicara says:

              The president, in one of his early throw-away comments, said that Cabinet secretaries were to expect to last six months. No guarantee after that. Just long enough, perhaps, for a bit of window-dressing–or just long enough to keep people mystified as to this administration’s real intentions.

    • Interesting reading. Makes a lot of sense. The one advantage of bringing both major powers to parity is the leverage issue that Andrew stated. The Philippines would be driving the relationships. Unfortunately, exercising it would require impeccable statesmanship and that is not happening. The current policy being deployed is not one of parity, but favoritism toward China. Thanks for your excellent parsing of the proposal.

    • “Joe’s proposal of opening up to both US and China is a dangerous game. We are inviting 2 elephants into the same playground. When 2 elephants make love, not to mention fight, our ground suffers. Has there ever been a precedence? I doubt it.”

      The only precedent is post-Yalta Germany, occupied by the four Allied powers and with different halfs of the country on separate sides of the Cold War. And the Western half of Berlin walled in, including the US and Soviet tanks facing off at Checkpoint Charlie.

      • NHerrera says:

        I love the “atmosphere” and setting of Berlin of that period, the tension, the thrill a young man gets as if reading a good novel of that kind — unmindful of grave implications. Which perhaps explains too the thrill of the change associated with Duterte coming from his young supporters.

      • chemrock says:

        Thanks Irineo for that reference. Post-war occupation by different axis of victors led to the splitting of Germany.

        What will a Mindanao that is pro China and allowing Chinese naval facilities in the south, whilst a pro-US in the north retains US forces in Subic, will that lead to demarcation?

        • Edgar Lores says:

          So, another possibility: instead of federalism, dismemberment of the republic.

          A North Philippines (pro-US) and a South Philippines (pro-China).

          But wait… the Marcoses are in the North. Therefore a North Philippines (pro-Marcos), a Central Philippines (pro-US) and a South Philippines (pro-China).

    • karlgarcia says:

      I am also not a fan of past presidential task forces, I see them as redundancies.
      Presidential anti Crime Commission and the Presidential Anti Smuggling task forces were a slap to the faces of the PNP and Bureau of Customs.

      Now this taskforce, I mean advisory board,will be a slap to face of DFA.
      I know I said my dad is a consultant of Trillanes,but I hope the senator won’t take it against me, if I voice out my opinion.(as I have done time and again)

      I have been reviewing some papers from the office of Senator Trillanes, about his issues with Del Rosario and Pangilinan and the So-called Scarborough-Reed Bank conspiracy.

      It turned out that it was Paquito Ochoa who approached him, and since he just had a short course in China a few months prior, he had a chance to meet some high level Chinese officials.
      His job was just to de-escalate the standoff and nothing about foreign policy.

      According to Trillanes, Del Rosario sent MVp as his back channel.
      Then MVP did not represent the DFA,but only his business interests.

      He also said,that Del Rosario and Pangilinan go way back,and it was Del Rosario who introduced MVP to Salim.

      To cut a long story short,I think the bill was created because of the incident mentioned above.

      Of course, I could be wrong again.

  21. andy ibay says:

    from childhood when I got to be taught BIOLOGY, I learned about SYMBIOSIS and PARASITISM of organisms and then people, then countries. Once you learn an individual or a people are parasites, then their country could be a parasite too. These ultra modern times I know by experience and observation that OFWs all over the world are not PARASITES that’s why parasites co-workers may not like them at all.

    The worst parasites are those that first offer you benefits then take over much of what you have. That’s the way of all parasites. How a country will allow another to enjoy privileges may be motivated by selfish rather than national interest. And that is the Shakespearean question? When you look over foreigners in your vicinity, you don’t need high school education to recognize parasites. The deleterious outcome of parasitism is not immediate, they exist for decades without being noticed until they become part of the infested organism or country.

    My limited knowledge tells me Philippines is in constant and classic symbiosis with the United States. After more than a century of symbiosis Americans and the USA do not own part of the territory or big business. US leaders know that the aberrant huge greed they encounter from Filipino leaders is only an statistical error in the entire population.

    • NHerrera says:

      Now comes Biology. I missed or vaguely recall that specific subject now. What a treat the last two posts. Thanks, andy ibay.

  22. madlanglupa says:

    Somewhat offtopic but nonetheless: we receive news that a police van, driven by an apparently irked cop after the van was pelted with red paint and graffiti, ran over leftists during the heated anti-US demonstrations.

    • Disturbing video.

      The President has voiced out his anti-US sentiments and his China pivot.

      Why oh why is this still happening?

      Red painted on his van…and he saw red, and rammed his vehicle to the human barricade.

      Filipinos vs brother Filipinos. Both sides wanted to demonstrate opposing extreme ideas…

      To the protest leader Renato Reyes – the current president is already with you, must you lead these young students to this violent rallies and exposed them to violent policemen?

      Can\t you just sit back and and let cooler heads settle the issues, must both sides force them right here, right now?

      It’s signal number 5 now, we need to think of those who are facing the wrath of nature instead of provoking the wrath of the perceived opposition.

      • madlanglupa says:

        This incident of violent provocation — supposedly on orders of a police colonel who decided to do away with the rules of engagement and so-called “calibrated response” — may very well put the President’s supposed Red allies at complete odds with him and General Bato.

  23. caliphman says:

    I find any discussion of Philippine foreign policy difficult because the department of foreign affairs which is in theory principally responsible for it is very vague on what its mission should be. Currently the dfa webpage defines its mission as being to promote and to protect Philippine i terests in the global community. Contrast that with Singapore’s ministry of foreign affairs mission statement:
    MFA is committed to the effective and timely formulation, implementation, and communication of policies that:

    Uphold Singapore’s sovereignty
    Promote a peaceful regional environment
    Sustain Singapore’s relevance internationally
    Expand Singapore’s political and economic space
    Share our developmental experience as a responsible global citizen
    Connect with Singaporeans travelling and living overseas, assist them in times of need.

    Compare that with the US department of state mission which of course reflects its global influence, power, and interests.A clearly defined mission provides a strategic guide on the nature, priorities and objectives of what a country’s foreign policy should be. Without it, discussion of what policy makes sense can be very incoherent if not futile.

  24. andrewlim8 says:

    Has anyone here heard of “extra-judicial driving”?

    • chemrock says:

      No, my guess is the cop was high on shabu.

    • NHerrera says:

      If one looks at the full-video, the naturally emotional Filipino be he the police or the left-rallyists made defensive-offensive moves:

      – the rallyists trusting that their offensive moves will not make the police driver do the crazy thing he did, while continuing to wreck havoc on the vehicle as well as the police themselves (policemen were hurt aside from the rallyists)

      – the police driver in a defensive-offensive move — debatable I admit — got emotionally “crazy”

      As a background, the atmosphere has been greatly poisoned. For example, since President himself is trying to delink from the US, there was no need to make that rally — although they have a right to — to be as violent as they did compared to previous rallies. They were perhaps inspired by the inspirational leader to hasten the delinking process. The police too have been inspired to defend themselves in the face of aggression, not much more than the aggression shown the druggies doing the alleged “nanlaban” thing.

  25. Sup says:

    Why are they always demonstrating in front of the US embassy?
    Why not in front of the Thai embassy?
    Remember Pemberton?Smith?
    Months of noise, Gabriela etc etc…..

    How about this case? Did you see Roque?
    Or was he Chinese?

    Could this be the foreign problem? When it is US make noise, when it is Thai, Chinese, what ever…just say nothing…
    Are those always complaining the non working communists having enough time to rally?
    Are the ”regular” Filipino’s to busy to work? Survive?

    Enlighten me please?

    • NHerrera says:


      There is not so much “glamour” to do those things on the other countries’ embassies. And of course the leftists have China as some sort of model. Besides, lately we have an inspirational leader who added further “inspiration” to that. (Please see my note above.)

      • Sup says:

        So blame the news makers and the reds? gabriela? Roque?
        Murder is murder, gay is gay…the Chinese even chopped up his victim, worse then a drunk Pemberton who was cheated by a dressed up guy…

        • NHerrera says:

          I agree murder is murder.

          I may not have caught your meaning exactly. I was responding to why the US Embassy is the favorite Bad Boy Embassy. I agree that chopping off the victim is worse than dunking the gay’s head to the toilet bowl. But why the more VIOLENT rally against the US Embassy and not the Chinese Embassy If a rally there was in fact made (I did not google). Others here may have an expanded take on your question.

          • Manolo Quezon
            19 hrs ·

            Over time and due to so many lives having been lost, in Metro Manila, a kind of ritual has emerged in confrontations between protesters and the police. For the state, the term used is “maximum tolerance,” involving escalating levels of force, from banging shields to intimidate protesters, to the use of truncheons, to the deployment of water cannon and teargas. Protesters in turn have turned to deploying marshals and negotiators, to maximize the opportunity to protest but minimize people getting hurt. The public, in turn knows this, and expects order to be maintained –and is fierce and uncompromising in laying blame on both sides if things degenerate into an unruly confrontation, and to assigning responsibility to the state if people die. The further one gets from Metro Manila, the greater the tendency for the agents of the state to be ill-equipped, untrained, and undisciplined, resulting in deaths. Since the state claims a monopoly of armed force, when its agents complain they were provoked, or that they responded to an attack, the public has little patience, and less sympathy, unless –and it has happened– there was very clear, and consistent, resolve on the part of the agents of the state to refrain from inflicting injuries on the protesters. If not, then the public’s verdict has been swift, and no official explanation other than a pledge not just of atonement, but punishment, will suffice, as we saw earlier this year. So what is different now? Only this: first, that it happened in Metro Manila where for quite a few years, discipline has been strong among the police in the sort of confrontation that is not new, and thus, for which both sides were expected to be prepared, and to know the rules of engagement. That discipline no longer seems to exist, because even if you concede the possibility there is always the chance someone will run amok, tight command and control would ensure there is no opportunity to weaponize a transport vehicle. But it seems to me equally likely that a driver would turn his vehicle into a weapon because going berserk with lethal intent is now no longer a suppressed, but instead a dominant, mentality among the officers of the law. And so we have what we have all seen.

            • NHerrera says:


              Quoting Manolo:

              That discipline no longer seems to exist, because even if you concede the possibility there is always the chance someone will run amok, tight command and control would ensure there is no opportunity to weaponize a transport vehicle. But it seems to me equally likely that a driver would turn his vehicle into a weapon because going berserk with lethal intent is now no longer a suppressed, but instead a dominant, mentality among the officers of the law. And so we have what we have all seen.

              Precisely, my take too.

            • chemrock says:

              “…going berserk with lethal intent is now no longer a suppressed, but instead a dominant, mentality among the officers of the law.”

              MLQ says it so eloquently.

              Don’t know about you guys, but when I’m out on the streets and I see a bunch of cops, I always veer away from them. The fear that at anytime they might explode into some action against some criminals there is in my mind. Don’t want to be colleteral damage.

              What an irony, not feeling safe in the presence of police.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Ybarra Crisistomo had a long argument with Edgar about this while you were enjoying your honeymoon.

      • madlanglupa says:

        Local leftists don’t like Beijing in its current state, being deviant from Maoist thought, but party dogma demands that regardless of any circumstances, to them the West and America must be opposed and contradicted vigorously. So it is why the US Embassy is their favorite traditional target, while conveniently ignoring the far graver danger posing no more than 250 km away from our shores.

        • Sup says:

          Ok, but the favorite game even for the leftist is USA basketball…They suppose to play GO or Mah Jongg……………they measure with 2 different sticks….hypocrites 🙂

          • NHerrera says:


            Oops. As you can gleam from my many posts, my bias, if ever, is more for the US than China (ironically for one who has a Chinese ancestry as do many Filipinos, I believe.) But I play digital Go on a tablet which I like. Play that rather than watch Basketball games. Not very good at it though. Only a beginner/ amateur to relax or while away the time waiting for the Missus to do her thing on weekends at the Mall.

            Each to his own quirks I suppose. 🙂

    • J. Bondurant says:

      I do recall a few protests made by the same group or groups at the Chinese embassy during the previous administration. Amazingly enough, though, the protesters were reserved, polite, and seemingly incapable of the aggression and violence that they displayed at the American embassy.

  26. NHerrera says:

    An American Diplomat talks. A 46-minute interview of Rappler’s Maria Ressa with American Ambassador Goldberg.

    May worth viewing if you have the time. It relates to the blog foreign affairs topic.


    • NHerrera says:

      While viewing the interview, I was just thinking of the kind of words and demeanor a typical Chinese Ambassador will say. I suppose it is related to what Back Home Guys will say if one trips, so there will be a good does of formulaic tone to it. Not that Golberg’s is free of the formula too, I suppose.

      • NHerrera says:

        does = dose

      • edgar lores says:

        Goldberg said the US has maintained the multi-faceted relationship — economically, militarily and so forth — and has not provoked the marked change in the relationship.

        It is the decisions being made here that have altered the complexion of the historic ties.

        At the end, he said, “It is not up to us.”

        • NHerrera says:


          There was provocation but one that is mainly CONTRIVED I believe. You have just lighted a bulb in my brain. Another decoding. Let me explain.

          If the overarching GOAL all along is to link with China (recall the presence of the supposed Chinese Philanthropist plane in Davao pre-election; and thus the whole scheme may have gelled or have been cooked up then or even earlier) then the delinking may have been in the scheme all along. It is just waiting for just the right opportunity to start activating it.

          Then comes the supposed slight or interference because of statements uttered about human rights violations. Bingo. A monumental provocation not to be forgiven. Make a “MOUNTAIN out of that molehill” complete with rich expletives and all the subsequent blah blahs on independent foreign policy and stopping US-PH Military Exercise, etc. So much the better because it gives very sweet symphony to the ears of China.

          In fact to give a nice order, the delinking process was activated first before the linking process. Sorta gives a good reason for the events, for the historians. We do not want to confuse later students reading the history. It must be given the appropriate orderly context.

          The rest is recent history as they say.

          • edgar lores says:

            GMA news: Duterte has announced separation — economic and military — from the US.

            So it was Duterte after all, and not Binay, who was the Manchurian candidate.

            • NHerrera says:

              Those are very apt words:

              – Manchurian
              – Candidate

              (He has Chinese ancestry after all doesn’t he? Just like me. 🙂 )

            • madlanglupa says:

              No doubt he is indeed an agent of influence.

            • Edgar, people should have followed your advice to vote for Binay. 😦

              • chemrock says:

                Irineo, Pnoy faced many detractors in the cabinet when he decided to pursue the legal Chanel via UN. Binary was very much against it. He preferred joint venture with China. So he too could have been the Manchurian Candidate.

              • True… I was joking with Edgar on his satirical article though.

                But Binay’s approach may have been more “Malay” i.e. native-oriented than Duterte’s.

            • caliphman says:

              I have little doubt that Binay too would have struck a deal with the the devil as Duterte has done. The deals would have been motivated by a foreign policy mission to serve the interests of the house of Binay. His ambition in the last two decades being to use public office primarily as a means to accumulate enormous wealth for his family and not the personal ego, impulsive megalomania, and unpredictability driving Duterte’s behavior. The latter by far is more dangerous to the Philippines as a Manchurian candidate, more susceptible to Chinese manipulation, less cognizant of the economic and geopolitical consequences of the questionsble changes he is making. Looking back at the campaign serves little use, but I sometimes wonder if those who vehemently opposed Poe’s candidacy because she chose US citizenship are not so unhappy that the country is spurning America in exchange gor China?

              • NHerrera says:

                A good rear-view 20/20 vision caliphman. But water under the still shaky Chinese bridge now. Question now is what will reverse this. I bet there are more ideas on this than there are contributors here. As starter, will all those opposed including Uncle Sam say OK you outsmarted us; take all the chips on the table, INCLUDING those un-staked by our side. One may also start a RAND-type analysis, including how Xi and the Politburo really think about the new tuta who thinks he is world class. Of course, humor him they did.

              • Outgoing Ambassador Goldberg put it succinctly in an interview recently when he said it is entirely up to the Philippines. I think the US is not the meddler many portray her to be, or as she has been under more adventurous presidents than Obama. The Philippines is independent, even if President Duterte and many people don’t quite grasp the accountability that goes along with that independence. Don’t look to the US to try to impose any accountability. You either claim it, as Filipinos . . . even if many are inclined to go off wailing and weeping and blaming Uncle Sam for not coming to help. Or for helping too much. Or whatever weeping and wailing they choose to do.

                This is the Philippines. Completely, entirely. Wailing and weeping is futile.

              • NHerrera says:

                Besides, are we to believe:

                Part 1, Duterte and China win; and Part 2 and all other parts, all the others lose? Does the sun shine only on these two? And for how long in this shrinking, fast-paced Climate-damaged world.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Now that he is no longer a candidate.

  27. andrewlim8 says:


    “With that, in this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” Duterte said to applause. “I have separated from them. So I will be dependent on you for all time. – Reuters news

    • sonny says:

      Maybe part of his mind game, viz stereotype of Chinese inscrutability?.

    • NHerrera says:

      One may rightfully ask if that is all it takes. But knowing the behavior of the super-majorities in both Houses of Congress they can only say, “they will be done.” And the SC will sing the same refrain.

      So it is all over, Unless …

      By the way, that Reuter quote of Duterte: that is probably in keeping with the modern way to kowtow. He so wanted to demonstrate to his master, due deference, in the traditional Chinese custom by touching his forehead to the ground. But he was told in private he need not do that this time. May be when next he is summoned to Beijing that is the time to do the full-bore kowtow.

  28. chemrock says:

    Sorry guys, from media reports coming out of Beijing, it does seem CHINA WON PHILIPPINES LOST. Duterte said US lost but doesn’t seem to understand it’s not about the US, it’s always been about Philippines.

    It’s a pivotal shift alright, politically, geopolitically, militarily, and economically.

    The ramifications of this great sell out in Beijing will be massive. Here are some things to chew on :

    1. Other ASEAN members will never trust Philippines. The upcoming economic integration may probably see Phil’s left out in the cold.

    2. Duterte is too dumb to understand that part of China’s economic might is due to massive investments by companies all over the world. Chinese cost advantage is shrinking, they are facing an impending banking meltdown. Given this scenario, many foreign firms are moving out and looking for alternate base to set up shop. Vietnam is the flavor of the moment. Philippines can now kiss goodbye to what might have been a golden opportunity to attract these companies here.

    3. The recent survey that showed majority of Filipinos trust the US more than the Chinese. Duterte has read the sentiments of his countrymen wrong and will pay a heavy political price for this in due course.

    4. The US is busy with their election so there has been no proper policy statements yet. Whether it’s going to be Clinton or Trump, the Philippine’s betrayal will be high on the agenda in the Oval office. Since the gloves are off, expect some rough treatment.

    5. Without trust, there will be no US military equipment support. Time to search your spare parts of existing US and western military systems elsewhere.

    6. What transpired in Beijing is tantamount to treason. I don’t know how one can view it as anything else but. Could this have been the endgame planned long before the election? Is there a Mindanao Mafia that will soon surface as the new oligarchs?

    • madlanglupa says:

      > Is there a Mindanao Mafia that will soon surface as the new oligarchs?

      Not only that, there’s Arroyo… and of course, the Marcoses are itching to make a big comeback.

  29. bnimble07 says:

    DU30 is either naïve or incompetent as it relates to foreign policy initiatives. For him to unilaterally declare that U.S-Philippines relations is over, kaput, terminated is all impulsive bluster and shows political immaturity. Besides, he needs the Philippine Senate to approve such a massive diplomatic shift. He sounds like Donald Trump sometimes, sometimes like a Hugo Chavez, and this is not meant to be a compliment.

    DU30 has never struck me as a deliberative, contemplative intellectual leader. He wears his heart on his sleeve at all times. He gets too emotional, at the worst time possible. He will never be a good poker player. He does things impulsively and blurts out words, sometimes offensive, nasty and foul, which he later regrets or ask someone from his regime to clean up the mess he created. This is political immaturity, egocentric and utter coarseness IMO. He also has a mean streak about him that is unbecoming a Head of State. He definitely lacks tact, diplomacy and refinement and not at the same standard of proper behaviour we are accustomed after watching the Heads of States of other more civilized developed countries such as Japan, Canada, Germany, U.S.A., U.K. or any other EU countries.

    Regarding his newfound Bromance with Xi Jinping and the Chinese, all I can say is this: Good Luck DU30. Vietnam does not even trust China and is seeking alliance with the Americans. And they are former adversaries. So what does that tell you about China’s track record as nation partners. For the life of me, I cannot understand why he thinks being allied with Russia and China, two of the most brutal dictatorships on the planet, with atrocious human rights records, will be good for the Philippines and Filipinos. China has on a One Party system where the Politburo runs everything. It has nowhere near similar constitutional guarantees like the U,S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. They do not have a functioning, fair and trustworthy judicial system either. People disappear in China if they criticize the policies of the government. That is why more Western businesses are slowly moving out of China. They are losing confidence in the Chinese ability or willingness to play by fair and transparent rules. Why is DU30 so enamored with the Chinese system? Ditto for Russia, they’re worse. And when was the last time you bought something Made in Russia that you can be excited about? It boggles the mind. This ill advised foreign policy shift does not bode well for the freedoms of the average Filipinos going forward. If DU30’s role models are these two despicable human rights violators – China and Russia, then God help us.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Which is why before he left for China, he had gone touring every military camp, trying to gain support from the troops, as if hoping that the military would not turn against him in the next five years.

    • He thinks he can play his decades-old Mindanao/Davao game internationally.

      Playing with different groups to his own advantage where all are opportunistic.

      What he I think does not know is that the game is played differently elsewhere.

  30. karlgarcia says:


    I learned a lot about the limitations of China.

    The vast or gulf a difference between Internal and coastal china,in terms of progress from trade.
    China is isolated separarated by mountains and deserts.
    It cannot attack India because of the Himalayas,can not attack Central Asia because of deserts and mountains, For some readon,they can not attack Siberia.

    That leaves the east.
    Having ships is not the same as having a navy.
    They have no Naval history, so what if they have ships.
    So the US can still di a Naval Blockade from Singapore to Japan.

    There are a lot more knowledge to be gained from this article.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Here is how the author concluded his article.


      China’s stopgap measure is its large number of anti-ship missiles. These missiles are designed to push the United States back from crucial choke points in the seas surrounding China. The problem with these missiles is that the US can destroy them. The US can’t close the choke points while the missiles are there, but the US has the capability to map China’s anti-ship network and attack it before moving into the choke points. China then must control at least some of these strategic passages from air, sea, and land on the islands of the archipelago. And the key island, Taiwan, is beyond China’s ability to seize.

      The Chinese currently are unable to break through the cordon the US can place around the exits. China is, therefore, buying time by trying to appear more capable than it is. Beijing is doing this by carrying out strategically insignificant maneuvers in the East and South China Seas, which should be considered less engagement than posturing. China will maintain this posture until it has the time and resources to close the gap. Under the best of circumstances, this will take at least a generation, and China is not operating under the best of circumstances.

      China, therefore, has three strategic imperatives, two of them internal and one unattainable in any meaningful time frame. First, it must maintain control over Xinjiang and Tibet. Second, it must preserve the regime and prevent regionalism through repressive actions and purges. Third, it must find a solution to its enclosure in the East and South China Seas. In the meantime, it must assert a naval capability in the region without triggering an American response that the Chinese are not ready to deal with.

      The Chinese geopolitical reality is that it is an isolated country that is also deeply divided internally. Its strategic priority, therefore, is internal stability. Isolation amidst internal disorder has been China’s worst case scenario. The government of President Jinping Xi is working aggressively to avert this instability, and this issue defines everything else China does. The historical precedent is that China will regionalize and become internally unstable. Therefore, Xi is trying to avert historical precedent.

      • karlgarcia says:

        “In the meantime, it must assert a naval capability in the region without triggering an American response that the Chinese are not ready to deal with.”

        That is why they let Duterte do the talking for them.

      • sonny says:

        Great find, Neph. Learned much. The same geography and ethnography pointed to by the author resonates well with the study of the ethnolinguistic studies of the Malay race, viz the Out-of-Taiwan model of the movement of Malay peoples around the Malay archipelago, Polynesia, the Pacific and the littoral peoples around the Indian Ocean.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Now for the other BFF. Russia.


      👍🏻 to Andrew for the C.R.A.P accronym.

      They can no longer control Europe so they look to China as BFF.

      Sad thing is, if we are not a pawn to anyone(Duterte buttering up to the inventor of chess),we are a loud barking tuta on a short leash.(hybrid of pekingnese and chihahuah).

      Behold the new axis, CRAP.

  31. karlgarcia says:


    Some comments from a US state Department and a think tank.
    Duterte’s comments are “inexplicably at odds with the very close relationship” the U.S. has with the Filipino people and their government, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, adding the U.S. hasn’t seen any “tangible application” of Mr. Duterte’s anti-American rhetoric so far.

    “If he goes through with this, it is obviously a big deal,” said Murray Hiebert, deputy director of the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. “It’s a little bit like having a guy telling his wife, ‘We’re going to get a divorce,’ but never getting the papers. We’ve got to get the papers in.”

  32. Bill In Oz says:

    I find this discussion curious. Nobody is commenting or discussing the causes of this ‘stuff up”. Nobody !

    So I will now. Duterte won the presidency with just 16 million votes out of the 40 million who voted. He won with a minority of the votes because the Philippines has an undemocratic voting system – modeled on the USA’s undemocratic voting system.

    Back in March/April I raised this major fault on this blog. And I was almost universally ‘corrected’ by comments that Filipinos would not be able to understand or operate a more democratic system such as a preference system or a proportional voting system.

    Well when you don’t have a real democratic voting system you get bizarre outcomes like an anti USA President Duterte currying up to China when almost all of the Filipino people are pro American !

    The current political crisis is just a reflection of the underlying undemocratic Filipino electoral system

    • karlgarcia says:

      Run off voting,election runoffs,two round system…not everyone was against your idea Bill.
      Edgar, even explained thus to me when I asked for further information.

      This is a better solution than to have a two party system,which is impossible now.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        This has nothing to do with a 2 party system…I am just spruiking fir a much more democratic election system….that will deliver a more democratic breed of politicians…

        A run-off 2 elections system sort of works towards this..But getting most of the population to spend hours waiting in queues twice is a burden. A preference system gets it over & done with once and so is less of a burden.

    • They are not talking about it in terms you comprehend, perhaps. If you have a topic to discuss, just put it on the table rather than berate others for not reading your mind. “Stuff up” is your personal opinion, I would add. It is not shared by all.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Of course it is my personal opinion Joe..No question. But from reading the blogs posts and the comments, it’s clear that a lot of other people agree with my comment. And there may be also a number who disagree…

        I think that ‘prevention’ is better than trying to ‘cure’ something. Curing the problems that President Duterte is creating will take a lot of curing. So looking to the future, political reform of the electoral system, seems like a good dose of ‘prevention’.

        • chemrock says:

          Bill, in Philippines reform has an entirely different meaning. Nothing will ever get done. That’s why the tragedy of Duterte is that he has the political capital and strength to really push a lot of sensible things through. God put him there for this purpose but he’s screwing it up.

  33. Hey, friends, this is a totally different take on PDU30’s China pivot and his foreign policy. I wonder if Eduardo Araral and Richard Heydarian joint analysis has some basis if only to dispel our fears, ease our concerns and make some light of what is happening around us. What can you say about this article?


    • It says “Repeated rhetorical assurances from President Barack Obama about ironclad commitments have not reassured Duterte”

      • karlgarcia says:

        I read the early morning commentary (comment section)in Inquirer and they said it was all about a US Visa denial. hehehe

        • chemrock says:

          Oops sorry… Difficult to post from mobile.

          I meant to say the president to me is the kind whose mind thinks in a linear way. Action-reaction type. Personal affronts get into his way of national matters. In short one big egomaniac. He is the last person a civil service agency would employ as a diplomat and yet he is our Chief Diplomat. The damage he can do in foreign diplomatic relations is frightening.

          The linked article attributes to him an intelligence which isn’t there. It’s academia mind guessing sounding very much like the president’s confused public relations trying to explain his various mistakes.

          Bear in mind all these Chinese investments purportedly coming in are investments, not freebies. There may be soft loans, sure, but there may be conditions too. As investments go, they are subject to bids as far as projects are concerned, the Chinese could very well be out-bidded. If they are mega projects, locals may be left out. But watch out, Chinese are great enablers of greasing hands. Mike Arroyo is probably rubbing his hands in high expectations.

          I laughed at Duterte begging the Chinese for a piece of the huge new silk road projects the Chinese is working on. What possibly could he contribute there?

    • chemrock says:

      It’s academia attributing intelligence to someone who operates on a one

    • NHerrera says:


      As an amateur Game Theory dabbler, the authors make sense if — and that is my big IF — Duterte is a strategist of the same level as the strategists in US, China and Russia analyzing the game. There is an implicit assumption in Game Theory which is not always valid: that all the players are of the same level of strategy competence and has analyzed equally well the calculated payoffs in the strategy moves and act to maximize the payoff. I doubt if Duterte is of that kind — although I admit without doubt that the guy is intelligent, verging on the psychopathic, as some intelligent guys do.

      Good academic thinking though from the authors.

      • Just got back from an extended meeting so I was not able to participate on this thread. Thanks, guys for the feedback. So it seems my hope to dispel our fears and ease our concerns re our Presidents foreign policy and China pivot is just that, a hope that is seemingly in vain.


  34. andrewlim8 says:


    C.R.A.P. – China, Russia and Philippines against the world

  35. andrewlim8 says:


    I’m listening to a livestream of a NY benefit where both Clinton and Trump are guests….

    Classic zinger from Clinton: “Trump is as healthy as a horse, the one Putin rides on, bare chested.”

    Immediately, imagery of Duterte and the Chinese premier come to mind, with Duterte walking behind on a leash…. 🙂

    aha ha ha ha

  36. NHerrera says:

    Ok guys, for the moment, we have to admit a $13B-scale Tsunami has hit us. Is this the mother of all Duterte rabbits out of the hat or are we to expect more. But we are not yet reeling are we? Delayed reaction?

  37. caliphman says:

    Just in case some of you missed it, one of the most significant accomplishments coming out of Duterte’s China trip is figuring out a workable solution to sharing and safeguarding fishing and other marine sources at Scarborough shoals. The most pressing and immediate Philippine problem is to restore access to fishing grounds at Panatag that provides the country a fourth of its annual harvest. The original cause of the Panatag crisis was our navy apprehending or dtiving away Chinese fishing boats poaching at Panatag. The Chinese redponded by sending in coast guard cutters ro support their fishermen . Things escalated and because of superior force Chinese control of Panatag and its denial to Filipino fishermen became the current outcome. From what understand the Chinese and Philippine coast guard will now conduct joint patrols at Panatag and ensure that Filipino, Chinese, and other fishing boats do not poach or violate restrictions. These conforms to UNCLOS provision assuring countries access to their traditiomal fishing grounds regardless of EEZ considerations and allows the two nations cuttets to vollaborate instead of confronting each other. This is a brilliant solution given the situation and it begs the question whether Duterte’s anti-US pivot and diatribe was at all necessary to workout this agreement.

    • NHerrera says:

      I agree. But early on as far back as election time, the strategic move on Duterte-pivot may have been planned as part of the kowtowing move of Duterte on a quid-pro-quo basis?

  38. caliphman says:

    I think thats giving Duterte way too much credit as a forward thinker and being a deliberative problem solver than the hip shooter and action driven personality he has proven to be. My best guess is this approach was developed by the Chinese ministers, and not by Yasay or any of Duterte’s entourage, as part of the package the president could claim justifies his trip and pivot.

    • NHerrera says:

      My comment above focused on the question in your last line before my post. Forward thinking he may not be, but he may hit the mark sometime. As even a beginner in gambling may hit the mark sometime. The credit perhaps goes to some other, may be the Chinese who may have planted the seed(s) in quite an easy way to a macho but gullible one when flattered.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Allegedly taken in 2014, was this photoshopped?

        For me, nothing wrong, unless Sup digs in deeper and finds out something.

        • karlgarcia says:

          MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) expects the 10,000-bed mega drug treatment and rehabilitation center (TRC) in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, to be in “full operation” by the first week of November.

          “Almost 50% of the facility has been constructed. The right wing of the building, which can accommodate almost 1,000 in-patients and offices, are now ready to be furnished. Construction of the left wing of the building and the female dormitory is underway,” Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said in a press conference Wednesday, October 12.

          She added: “It is expected to be finished by the end of October 2016.”

          The mega TRC was donated by Huang Rulun, a Chinese businessman and philanthropist who, Ubial, said “has no business intrest in the Philippines. All his businesses are in China.”

          She said Huang met President Rodrigo Duterte for 3 times – twice, before he was elected president, and once when he was already in Malacañang.

          Last sentence.
          Duterte has been to China at least twice before being elected.

          • caliphman says:

            That presumes that chartered chinese jet photographed parked at Davao airport during the camoaign was not Huang’s.

            • karlgarcia says:

              I will make palusot, in an attempt to make it plausible.He met Huang and others in 2014 in Beijing, again he met Huang in Davao last May and again in the Philippines after winning.

              All speculative,though.

        • Sup says:

          No time…to busy learning Chinese,,, Nin hao

  39. caliphman says:

    Manong, offering good solution requires no gullibility on Duterte’s part. He gets to tell Filipinos they can fish in Panatag again without bringing up the thorny Hague ruling with the Chinese.Thats why I tjink Duterte was basically told how the deal would work as Xi had to okay any plan involving joint Filipino patrols over their claimed sovereign territory. Not to overly sharpen the point, the short minute meeting with Xi was not one where Xi was negotiating or brainstorming with Duterte a deal package in exchange for pivoting away from the US. Those are typically ceremonial in nature with everything worked our beforehand.

    In any case, there is a case for making a pivot towards China bcause a regional giant military and economic pwer is better a friend than an enemy. But offending and antagonizing ones’ closest ally and the world’s only superpower because he felt insultef is unnecessary and incomprehensible.

    • NHerrera says:

      Isn’t there a song “Us (Me?) Against the World”? This time it is “Three of Us Against the World” sang by A Third World country leader. What a childish thing to say/sing. SHAME really.

  40. andrewlim8 says:


    You are a victim of rebalancing. Whatever that means. Ask Pernia or Andanar.

  41. NHerrera says:

    Presidential Communications Office = Presidential Interpretations office.

    In short, PCO = PIO

    I am sticking that at the upper right corner of my computer screen to help me through the day — as a mnemonic aid to what is A-Grade news and what is D-Grade news depending on where it comes from.

    In the old days of DFA Chief Alberto del Rosario, If I need to be clarified with a consequential DFA Item all I have to do is get what the Chief has to say about the matter.

    Those days are gone. This time Yasay is no better than someone at PCO = PIO speaking about Foreign Affairs matter.

    Now you gotta to love the following. After Duterte made these statements in Beijing,

    America, they just lost me. I realign myself in your ideological flow and maybe, I will go to Putin and there are three of us against the world — Russia, China and the Philippines. I announce my separation with the United States. Both in the military and in economics also,

    here comes PCO Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag saying, “there is no rush for us to interpret the speech of the President.”

    Isn’t that just lovely.


  42. caliphman says:

    The bad news is we are severing all diplomatic, economic, and military ties with the whole world except for Chiba and Russia. The good news is we will be realizing huge budget savings from canning our useless Foreign Affairs Secretary, 103 surplus ambassadors and consulates, and from selling or not leasing all those unnecessary embassies around the world. See what tremendous economi benefits Duterte is bringing back from his China mission?

    • NHerrera says:

      The DDS — Duterte Diehard Supporters — many of whom, including their families, I believe hold US Passports or Visas or may be applying for such, may just turn 180% in their support for him. Hence he aptly said, that he will not move to severe diplomatic ties with the US. In his own words:

      “Why? The Filipinos in the United States will kill me.” He may just be dead right on that (pun intended).

      Besides as pointed out by many, as President he makes the initiatives on major Foreign Policy; but he alone as head of the Executive Branch does not decide. There is the Legislative Branch and SC who together with him decide.

      The Representatives and Senators also hold US Visas/ Passports, especially our PK Pacquiao. He may not welcome the thought of learning anew the Chinese and Russian way of boxing.

      Besides even some Chinese analysts — according to one of your links, karl — are not under any illusion or convinced by the Duterte rhetoric’s. I believe one analyst even mentioned, he just wanted to bring more carrots/ bacon (denominated in Renminbi) back to the Philippines as fruits of the visit. The analyst did not mention the Kowtow.

      So much for that bacon — first it was $13.5B, then it became $24B. (Should it not have been quoted in Renminbi so we, not only the DDS, get to learn our soon to be favorite foreign currency?) Lastly, we will enjoy following up on the implementation of these promises, as promises they really are at this stage. Hindi pa naman naka taga sa bato yan.

  43. caliphman says:


    Lest it be said that the comments made here all vilify the senate as a nest of self-serving sycophants and spineless vipers, there is no hesitation here in commending those few members of that exclusive club who dare to be the voices of conscience and reason in putting first and foremost thr intetedtd of the Filipino people. As stated in their joint pronouncement, the country’s foreign policy should neither be pro-US, pro-China, pro-Duterte, or even neutral. Instead it should be pro-Filipino.

  44. NHerrera says:

    Off Topic


    The case of the well-liked Obamas, President and First Lady, campaigning for Hilary Clinton as if Obama himself or herself is the Presidential Candidate is a lesson in having friends even considering past conflicts — campaigns of Hilary and Barack in the Democrat Primary for the 2008 Election.

    We are not in a perfect or ideal world after all. As was said by someone lately, we have to consider the sum total of relationships. In fact, in almost all major consequential things, we do have to consider the sum total of related major and essential items; not only the sum total of the things that are narrowly, not to say biasedly, selected.

  45. andrewlim8 says:

    Here’s a funny way to interpret Duterte from a Chinese analyst:

    His “separation” from the US is like the new social phenomenon in China where people file fake divorces in order to get around regulations and secure a second housing loan.

    aha ha ha ha

    • 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 A super rare five smiley award for that, andrew.

      • One of my personal challenges these days is to write tweets that have some modest literary merit, rather like Will Rogers might do it. Today’s compositions:

        I keep imagining a zombie movie, the walking dead staggering mindlessly about greedy for blood, but it’s even worse. It’s legislators.

        heh heh, and . . .

        Tweet story. Little nation mistakes ego for ammo and shoots blanks. Big nation shrugs and deals with those having a full deck. The end.

        • NHerrera says:

          USS Decatur of the US Navy sailed close to but not within 12 miles of the Paracel Islands controlled by China — an action that came as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wrapped up a four-day state visit to China, where he pledged to increase cooperation with Beijing, while at the same time slamming his country’s long-time ally Washington.

          The maneuver was the third South China Sea “freedom of navigation” operation conducted this year by the US, which has repeatedly stressed it will ignore China’s “excessive” maritime claims.

          Expectedly China slammed the US for sailing a warship near disputed territory in the South China Sea, saying the move was a “serious illegal act” and “deliberately provocative”.


          I can imagine Jack Ryan in that USS Decatur.

          • NHerrera says:

            My technical self believes the exact nature or details of China reaction to each of these US Navy probing moves (setting aside the Freedom Navigation motivation) are being analyzed for their increasing potency; as-usual potency; or diminishing potency and their corresponding implications or lessons.

            Of course, it is a two-player game and the opposition must be doing its bit of analysis too. The two Big Players’ Navies must be having an adrenaline rush to say the least.

          • edgar lores says:

            Jack Ryan is on the USS Zumwalt. Not that he’s needed there.

            • NHerrera says:

              Aah, with the latest US Navy toy. I understand only three are on order — anti-radar feature because of its angular profile. It is also called Batman’s Batship?

              • edgar lores says:

                And new weaponry — railguns.

              • NHerrera says:

                OK, I give up — you know your ship.

                (When I was young, I used to assemble these ships with parts from stiff paper, with their associated navy colors, the gun towers (?) and their cannons, etc. Pretty to look at after hours with the parts, the glue, and patience. These days the parts are assembly-friendly.)

            • chemrock says:

              Edgar it’s capt Kirk at zumwalt.

              • edgar lores says:


              • karlgarcia says:

                Had to google it……..

                Zumwalt’s commanding officer is Captain James A. Kirk.[24] Kirk attracted some media attention when he was first named captain, due to the similarity of his name to that of the Star Trek television character Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. Shatner wrote a letter of support to Zumwalt’s crew in April 2014.[25]

  46. Istambay sa Kanto says:

    The discussion from CFR podcast is quite interesting.


  47. J. Bondurant says:

    So I suppose “Independent foreign policy” is the abbreviated form of “Intsik-dependent foreign policy”?

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