Opinion | Underestimating China's influence, Marcos plunges the plights of poor Filipinos into precipice
By Augustus K. Yeung
Two presidents of the Philippines show diametrically opposed decision-making skills and styles. Marcos Jr. should learn how President Duterte did it – securing a strong tie with China, whose president pledges abundant opportunities ahead.
But Duterte's hard work and good relations were gradually depleted by Marcos Jnr – who when faced with the usual incidents of Filipino fishermen having troubles with the Chinese over the issue of fishing-rights – have decided to bring in the U.S. military, joining the so-called "naval drills", antagonizing the PLA.
This article examines the leadership of Marcos Jnr and contrasts it with that of Duterte – whose style of administration, vision and emphasis on building stable and win-win bilateral relations was winning praises from China – which is striking a close political and economic affinity with the ASEAN community – in a speed that is fast and furious.
Under Marcos Jnr., the people of the Philippines are in a sorry plight. Two cases serve to prove the point.
First, the "President blames foreign militants for a bombing that kills four Christian worshippers", a newspaper article that details his preference for military power over diplomacy.
Second, two Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking despite appeals were executed, attesting to Mr. Marcos' lack of political acumen.
The following abridged newspaper reporting – attesting to Marcos' silly reliance on the myth of the U.S. military to solving insurgence at home.
The Philippine president blamed "foreign terrorists" for a bomb blast that killed four people yesterday, wounded dozens of other Catholic worshippers in the south and sparked a security alarm, including in the capital, Manila, where state forces were put on alert.
The suspected bombs, which the police said were made from a mortar round, went off and hit students and teachers who attended a Mass in a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in southern Marawi city, Taha Mandangan, the security chief of the state-run campus, told The Associated Press.
Dozens of students and teachers dashed out of the gym and the wounded were taken to hospitals. "I condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists upon the Mindanao State University…" President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr said in a statement.
Marcos did not explain why he immediately blamed foreign militants for the high-profile bombing, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jnr later told a news conference – without elaborating there was a strong indication of a "foreign element" in the bombing.
Military chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jnr said the bomb attack could be retaliation – by Muslim militants – for a series of battle setbacks.
"We are looking at possible angles," Brawner said, "It could be a retaliatory attack. He cited the killing of 11 suspected Islamic militants in a military offensive backed by air strikes and artillery fires on Friday near Datu Hoffer town in a southern Maguindanao province.
Regional police director Brig. Gen Allan Nobleza said the slain militants belonged to Dawlah Islamiyah, an armed group that had aligned itself with the Islamic State group and still has a presence in Lanao del Sur province.
Mosque-studded Marawi city came under attack from foreign and local Islamic militants who had associated themselves with the Islamic State group in 2017. The five-month siege left more than 1,100 dead, mostly militants, before it was quelled by Philippine forces – backed by airstrikes and surveillance planes – deployed by the U.S. and Australia.
Note: The southern Philippines is the homeland of minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation – and the scene of decades-old separatist rebellions.
The largest armed insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, signed a 2014 peace deal with the government, considerably easing decades of fighting. Some smaller armed groups rejected the peace pact and pressed on with bombings and other attacks. (Source: MDT/AP)
To pursue the other point raised earlier, authenticating the lack of vision of Mr. Marcos Jnr, who could have saved two lives sentenced to execution.
China has executed two Filipinos for drug trafficking despite high-level Philippine government appeals to commute their death sentences to life in prison…
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila did not identify the two Filipinos. It added that it did not announce the November 24 executions until the Philippine government was formally notified by China. "The Chinese government, citing their internal laws, upheld the conviction and the Philippines must respect China's criminal laws and legal processes," the DFA said.
"While the Philippine government will continue to exhaust all possible avenues to assist our overseas nationals, ultimately it is the laws and sovereign decisions of foreign countries, and not the Philippines, which will prevail in their cases."
The executions came at a difficult point due to escalating territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The DFA said while it was saddened by the executions of the Filipinos, their deaths strengthened "the government's resolve to continue our relentless efforts to rid the country of drug syndicates that prey on the vulnerable, including those seeking better lives for themselves and their families."
Two other death penalty cases involving Filipinos are on appeal and under final review in China. DEA spokesperson said.
These two Filipinos would have been saved had Marcos Jnr personally made an appeal to Xi Jinping – and promised to revert the course of their bilateral relations back to its happy past.
Conclusively, it is apparent that Mr. Marcos is a man – who superstitiously believes in the power of the U.S. military in solving his country's minor territorial disputes – which would be solved to both countries' satisfaction amid a rising China which is homing in on ASEAN as a united power-base – for the common purpose of building political stability and economic prosperity.
Marcos Jnr wanted to jump off the cheap Manila jeepney and get a free ride on Washington's military bandwagon. But now it looks like he is making a mistake and paying a price; because President Biden now pivots back to the Nixon-Kissinger-orchestrated sound-and-stable Sino-U.S. relations.