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Saturday, July 20, 2019
CEBU

Carvajal: Friend or foe

Break Point

LAST I looked, disputes are settled in either of two ways, amicably (win-win as friends) or inimically (win-lose as enemies). Thus I cannot understand why some people insist that President Duterte’s amicable way amounts to a surrender of our sovereign claim to a disputed territory.

Not when poor and militarily weak, we are in no position to fight China should she insist, as she does, on not honoring the judgment of the international arbitral court. Not when no political entity, not even mighty USA, is likely to use force to make China respect the court’s ruling.

For sure, the US will go to war against China only as a last resort in defense of her national security. Hence, instead of saber-rattling (because we have a mighty ally) we should strive that it doesn’t come to an armed confrontation for whatever reason. Geographically closer to China, she will pound us first militarily to prevent us from being of any help to the US.

The Chinese never invaded us or colonized us. They came here (and went to many other countries) to escape the poverty that at that time gripped their land. They settled, married locals, opened businesses and thus contributed in a remarkably significant way to our economic, political, and cultural development. More Chinese than Spanish and American blood runs in our veins as evidenced by the distinctively Chinese surnames many Filipinos have.

I also cannot understand the fuss about high-interest loans from China. Are there not many banks that offer loans at varying rates of interest, some much higher than others? Why is it then that not all borrowers take their loan out from banks with the lowest interest rate? The answer is simple. Interest is a major but not the only consideration when taking out a loan.

So much resentment also over the Chinese’s entry into our work force. Yet per labor department records, only 44,471 AEPs (Alien Employment Permits) have been issued to Chinese nationals out of which only 2884 are in construction. Compare that with the 2.8 million OFW’s (2018 figures) of whom 12,254 work in mainland China and 130,000 in HongKong. Don’t you think we are ahead in this game?

In any case, what is so wrong with the foreign policy of being a friend to all and an enemy to none? Unfortunately, because of our colonial past we can no longer be the neutral country we should have been because of our size. But this should not mean we don’t try to cut the geopolitical umbilical cord that ties us to the US, that alone could go on a collision course with the fast growing economic and military power of China.

These are cogent reasons not to make China a foe... if you factor politics out. Friday’s Part 2 will explore why, again taking politics out, we should befriend China.


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