By Raïssa Robles
Here is my think piece that came out today in South China Morning Post (HK)’s This Week in Asia Section.
It is based on interviews with our former United Nations Permanent Representative Lauro Baja, our NEW UN Permanent Representative Teodoro Locsin, Jr., a stock market analyst who preferred not to be named and Rodel Rodis whose group in the US has been accused of plotting to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
This Tuesday, 1,400 US marines and navy servicemen will train with 500 Filipino soldiers on Philippine soil, for the final time if President Rodrigo Duterte is to be taken at his word.
“You [the United States] are scheduled to hold war games again which China does not want. I will serve notice to you now, this will be the last military exercise,” he said during a visit to Vietnam on September 28.
The military exercises are to be accompanied by humanitarian and engineering projects.
Duterte’s statement caught two key cabinet secretaries off guard. “No, no, no, he did not say that at all,” Perfecto Yasay, Duterte’s foreign secretary, told reporters in Hanoi who had sought clarification.
The next day, the defence department issued this terse statement:
“The DND will await further orders from President Rodrigo R. Duterte regarding the [armed forces’] exercises with the US forces. Defence secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana will discuss this with the president to seek more clarification and guidance. As stated earlier, all agreements and treaties with the US are still in effect. As to succeeding exercises, we will have to sit down with our US counterparts to discuss them.”
Since the US bases were kicked out of the former US colony 25 years ago, succeeding Philippine presidents have all sought to “normalise” relations with the premiere super power. Joseph Estrada – who had voted as senator to kick out the bases – backed a Visiting Forces Agreement that allowed several hundred US soldiers to be present in the country at any given time. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reeled in greater US support by siding with its war on terror. And Benigno Aquino III pushed for an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement enabling the US to set up permanent military structures for their own use inside Philippine military camps.
In March this year, ahead of the presidential polls, both countries identified five military camps for this purpose. Among them was Fort Magsaysay, the biggest army camp used also for training.
But the newly elected President Duterte now appears to have another plan for Fort Magsaysay and a new arrangement with the US. He disclosed last month that China offered to help him in his “war on drugs” by building a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts inside Fort Magsaysay.
To read the rest, please click on this link.
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The country is no doubt very dependent on OFWS remittances. As soon as the new president elect Trump step in he vows to keep the outgoing money in the US, via a law called WIRE ACT, yes even remittances of all foreigners more so of illegals who are sending via underground or through money grams,Western Unions and impose equivalent or huge tax on the amount being sent.
They are not happy to see monies getting out of the country for several reasons !.of earning tax, 2.security and 3. apprehending or discouraging illegals who work and don’t file income report or records.
The PH govt shouldn’t be over confident that the kind hear ted OFWS wouldn’t be feeling the heat and this govt’ should never be SO BOLD on depending on THESE REMITTANCES to pay for their so called foreign /international loans that they are not careful and commit conscience free to waste and put in their own pocket.
Read here for some really unhappy days to come for remittances of foreigners in THE US are being seriously studied because of abuse and other reasons.
This is also the reality here in Canada, although it is not focused on yet for strict scrutiny. I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THAT THESE COUNTRIES NEVER EVER WANT THEIR MONIES GETTING OUT OF THE COUNTRY; they wish that whatever money is earned in the country should be spent here.