Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Malilong: Moving out of the American sphere

ANGRY with America, President Rodrigo Duterte is flirting with the Reds.

Fresh from hosting local communist leaders to dinner in Malacañang last Monday, the President announced that he would seek alliances with Russia and China to make up for a possible loss of an old ally in the United States.

The announcement of a Russia and China “pivot” is an escalation of the conflict that started when Duterte bad-mouthed U.S. President Barack Obama and the latter retaliated by snubbing Digong during the meeting of Asean leaders in Laos. Duterte has already ordered American military advisers out of Mindanao and ruled out further joint military patrols with the United States in the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte called for sacrifice among us as he sets a new direction in the country’s international relations. What he’s probably saying is for Filipinos to brace for the potentially massive loss of jobs when the Americans pull out their industries from the country and for other unpleasant effects. We can only hope that the difficult times will be short.

A breakup is always an occasion for sadness, more so when It is with a special, although perhaps not always a good, friend. Our relationship with the U.S. goes a long way, which explains why, as I have repeatedly said in this space, there is a wellspring of goodwill for the Americans among Filipinos.

Until now, there are still a number of Filipinos who would give their arm for the chance to immigrate to the U.S. or to just go there as tourists and stay TNT (tago nang tago). We have perhaps the second largest number of illegal immigrants in America, next only to Mexico. Seldom will you see a Filipino family who doesn’t have a member, relative, friend or acquaintance living in the States.

All these will have to change if the President makes good his threat. But if he says that moving out of the American sphere of influence will be good for us, then so be it. He is, after all, our president.


I watched the US presidential debate on television last Tuesday and was surprised to read that the Americans found it fierce. Actually, I found it rather tame although I have the advantage of having watched our presidential debates last summer.

But I agree with them that Hilary Clinton thoroughly drubbed Donald Trump in that debate. I hope that Clinton will similarly trounce Trump in the election because the Republican candidate is bad for us. If he would have his way, he’d probably build a wall in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to keep us, whom he has labeled terrorists, from reaching American shores.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the Clinton-Trump back and forth, I am appalled by the utter lack of civility in the word war between Sen. Leila de Lima and the Duterte administration. Also last Tuesday, de Lima ridiculed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre’s wig, saying that the justice secretary’s evidence against her was like his hairpiece: fake.

I never imagined de Lima can be this tart-tongued, reminding me of the famously insulting Miriam Defensor Santiago. But you cannot completely fault her for the morphing. From the time she sought the investigation of what she called were extrajudicial killings in the war against drugs, the administration has gone viciously against her to the point of portraying her as a sexually-obssessed woman.

The lady is fighting back tooth and nail, insult for insult and ad hominem for ad hominem. It’s more fun in the Philippines?

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