Highly successful what?
To say that President Duterte’s recent trip to China to meet up with President Xi is “highly successful” is not lying through the teeth. The Palace Spokesperson was telling the truth, but only the truth of Malacañang’s perception, and therefore the claim of “success” only reveals a delusion. Malacañang thinks it succeeded, but—the success belongs to Beijing, not the Philippines.
I believe Duterte knows that truth deep within but has no power to either accept or reject it. That’s why he came home unsmiling, looking crestfallen—but of course, the Palace will say he’s “just tired.”
He promised to raise the issue of the Hague ruling this time—and to his credit he did, but did he or his smart advisers even think or plan far enough to anticipate the opponent’s next move? It seems he went armed with a good intention but encouraged only by an illusion—the illusion that Xi is his friend, and a friend listens and cares about you as much as you care about him. And that illusion is fed by another illusion: that Build Build Build is the yardstick of the Duterte administration’s success, and that he could count on his friend to help him achieve his dream. Build Build Build—at all cost?
More deals for our development? Examine them carefully and you’ll see that whether loans or business partnerships they bear the same characteristics drawn up to favor Beijing and the powerful rich. If they are loans they could compromise our patrimony. If they are business partnerships, the Pinoy or Chinoy partners besides Beijing may benefit—but it’s the rest of us ordinary brown-skinned flat-nosed Pinoy consumer who’ll be making them richer.
In any case here, any deal is a gamble. In a casino, Beijing is the “bangka”—nobody wins against the bangka.
Who am I to say what I’m saying when I had at most only 12 units of Economics in college? Zero units in Political Science or Foreign Service, too. Do I know because I read? No Sir—I don’t “know”, and I only read signs. Just signs, and I’m “just sayin’”.
Does anyone really believe, at this point, that Xi is willing to dialogue with anybody? Read the signs. From the start of this hullabaloo Xi has—on the strength of dashes made on a crummy map—violated the Philippines’ sovereignty. Xi ignored an international body’s decision, trampled upon other nations’ rights, broke his promises not to militarize his reclaimed islands.
How can you dialogue with someone like that? He’s unstoppable. Megalomania knows no reason. And when Xi told Digong that the matter of the Hague ruling should never be raised again in his future visits, he virtually slapped our president with that old map! He spat not just on Digong’s face, but also on the face of the Filipino!
What’s sad is, the Palace downplays that aspect of the visit. It says the relationship between China and the Philippines is time honored and not defined by the West Philippine Sea issue alone.
The Dragon knows its size and strength, and so he advises House Lizard: If you want to soar, just ride along. (Fun Tagalog translation: “Dragon ako, ikaw butiki ka, kung gusto mong lumipad nang matayog, sumakay ka na lang, kapit ka sa batok ko ha, gaya ni Daenerys.”)
I may not be in love with Digong but I can empathize with him. On that trip, he failed, not just once but twice. First, to get Xi to dialogue on the ruling; second, to stop the signing of more deals. I fear that this August trip may be the second to the last nail on our sovereignty’s coffin. It’s only Digong’s failure, not the Filipino people’s.
When our president is weakening we shouldn’t be mere spectators entrusting our future too much in the hands of our leaders. Remember and take to heart “Ne’er shall invaders conquer our sacred shores… Sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil…” from our national anthem? The anthem means nothing if it is just sung—for love of country we have to feel it, think it, act it, breathe it, pray it.
But take heart. Despite our leaders’ half-truths, we can still do something to rise above the situation. We can pray, not only the prayer we read in church for three minutes and forget forever, but solitary prayer in stillness and silence that seeks the face of God and disposes us to surrender, in humility, to His will.
Solutions that come from human expertise without the guidance of prayer will remain ambiguous—even the godless would be better at that. But we who are called by His name—it will do us good to remember what we often sing in church: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Too esoteric for comfort? If we cannot believe in God’s promise conveyed by these words, then we should stop calling ourselves Christians. And that’s the truth.