Today is Saturday and tomorrow we are heading off to Apo Island to do some snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Snorkeling for Michell, her sister and friend and SCUBA for me. Apo Island is a great dive spot and once again, we are going with Harold’s Mansion. Hopefully, this time the boat engine won’t die and we have to drift for hours before being rescued…. Keep your fingers crossed!
I usually try to cover three news topics relevant to expatriate life in my “This Week in the Philippines” Livecasts. This week, however, I am going to cover one single piece of news: Some snippets of Philippine President Duterte’s speeches that were recently given during his trade delegation to China. And as can be expected, President Duterte didn’t disappoint, especially when it came to his keynote speech to the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum.
First off, let me say once again that the purpose of this Livecast is to cover topics that might have an effect on foreigners living in the Philippines. Whether it has to do with political uncertainty, high-profile crimes or changes in certain laws or regulations, I feel it is my duty to cover these topics because as most of you know, it’s not all puppies and rainbows in the Philippines. Mostly puppies and rainbows, but not all. The one thing I will not do is give my personal opinion on matters – foreigners are visitors/guests in the Philippines, and it’s not my place to pass judgement. Most of my readers are grown adults, and I trust that you all possess the tools necessary to make your own conclusions.
But enough of that – let’s get to the topic at hand.
As we noted in our last Livecast, President Duterte made a trip to China this week, bringing with him a delegation of 250 Filipino businessmen looking to network with their Chinese business peers. Early reports are encouraging, and it has been reported that China has already agreed to billions of dollars worth of investments in the Philippines. Keep in mind, though, that these don’t appear to be grants – the language being used indicates that they are loans. The hot-topic of the Spratley Islands also got some attention, and both parties agreed to diplomatically work on the situation without the heated language used in the past.
President Duterte gave a few speeches while in China. This past Thursday – during his keynote speech to the trade forum – he made a few fairly direct swipes at Americans, casting them as “loud and discourteous” while at the same time describing Filipinos and other Asians as being a very polite people and “fundamentally shy.” The President then went on to say that Americans are “a little bit loud, sometimes rowdy and they have this volume of their voice and the larynx is not well adjusted to civility. The problem when you talk to the Westerners, Americans and all – they are a very discourteous people.”
Echoing his earlier reference of a “separation” of ties with the United States, President Duterte went on to say that US mining interests in the Philippines harm the environment and warned Chinese businessmen not to make deals with Americans, saying “If you do that, that is the shortest way of losing your money.”
The President then went on to relate a personal anecdote having to do with “American idiotic arrogance.” During a stop at Los Angeles International, after a visit to Brazil, President Duterte stated that he had been questioned by a black security officer after he was unable to show a travel authorization document.
“You know this guy brought me to a room to interrogate me. So I said, if you detain me any further and if there’s a plane available going back to the Philippines now, I’d be happy to ride. That was the last time I went to America.
Maybe sometime soon the Americans come to my country for business and all, including pedophilia.
And they come to my country sans a visa, they do not need it, they go there as if they own the place. Maybe thinking that it was only until now.
And Filipinos who go to America and who have the money, they are not just only berated in the visa control, in the consular office,[inaudible] they are humiliated. And so maybe– Is there American here? If you are planning to go to my country, you get a visa from where you come from. Maybe [applause]… It’s about time. iI you think they’re liberal with the Filipinos, it’s because they have the brains and you get most of the best and the brightest of the Filipinos for your country.”
President Duterte then went on to criticize the United States for atrocities committed by American troops during the early years of American occupation, citing the 1901 Samar massacre where the American General Jacob Smith ordered the killing of any Filipinos over age 10 and the 1909 Bud Dajo massacre in which hundreds of Muslim Moro tribesmen were killed by US forces on the Sulu peninsula in Mindando, among them women and children. This hasn’t been the first time the Philippines president has recounted those terrible happening from the Philippine-American War.
“I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness….” General Jacob Smith
Billions of dollars pour into the Philippines every year from OFWs in the United States and there is a long history of trust and mutual aid between the two nations. Despite this, how the Presidents rhetoric will actually pan out remains to be seen, especially when it comes to repercussions falling on foreigners living, working, studying or retiring in the Philippines. Being an optimist, I hoping that it will all work out. Being also a realist, however, one has prepare for any eventuality. Forewarned being forearmed and all that…
Always have an exit plan.
In the meanwhile, I’ll just keep telling everyone I’m Canadian…..