THE GODS LOVE DUTERTE

THE Gods must really be favoring and smiling on President Rodrigo Duterte. 

This is because the President always ends up with the winning cards whether waging a personal battle or engaging with other leaders in international political arena. 

His independent foreign policy shift, referring to distancing from the USA could not have come at more appropriate time. 

How prescient! This makes him a visionary.

 

Nothing to Worry

When all respected pollsters were saying Clinton will win US elections, Pres. Digong dared fate by cussing her party mate and principal backer incumbent US President Barack Obama, jeopardizing aid and trade with the most powerful country of the world that has dominated, if not controlled, Philippine politics for decades after our false independence. 

But Donald Trump, using the same political campaign tactics that gave Pres. Digong landslide win in the last elections, beat the hands-on favorite Hilary Clinton.   

Should Trump be true to his campaign promise to adopt protectionist policies that would prioritize the interests of his country and people over others, the Philippines need not worry because President Duterte has already made the early moves to free us from clutches of USA. 

 

Better Prepared 

Fact is the country now is better prepared should Trump make good his vow to make “America for Americans”. 

President Duterte opening doors for higher trade and economic cooperation with China and Russia was a brilliant decision to say the least. 

 

Same Vision 

However, whether we accept it or not, President Duterte—and US President elect Donald Trump—share the same vision of befriending China and Russia as part of their respective country’s survival, economically and politically speaking.

Duterte’s gambit to pivot to China and Russia as the new big brothers and in the process distancing from America has actually paid off in that instead of sticking to just one friend, we embraced new ones. 

Surprisingly, this is also the path that the incoming president of the United States is taking. 

Many observers initially thought Duterte was crazy when he announced that the Philippines was separating from the U.S., its long ally, and would turn to China and Russia. 

 

Uncertainties 

His message was misread as severing the country’s ties with its old friend when what he actually meant was he also wanted to warm up to newer allies.

With Trump’s victory, Duterte has found his match—the one with the same fiery character and crass language—such that in his congratulatory message, Duterte promised not to fight with America anymore. 

The same doubts and jitters are being felt in America now with Trump as the new president was declared last Wednesday (Manila time), uncertainties that Trump’s braggadocio nature and crass ways and language could hurt the US positioning in the world stage more now than in the past.

Major stock markets all over the world plunged at the first sign of a Trump win but are now correcting perhaps in surrender to this new reality and after Trump’s reconciliatory victory speech.

 

Campaign promises

Trump’s campaign promise to bring back jobs in the United States—which resounded well with American workers who lost their jobs through outsourcing—caused initial jitters to Filipino call center workers, who fear that their companies might close shop to heed their president’s call.

But leaders of the BPO industry quell such nervousness in that under a free enterprise system, government does not order a business where to locate and how it should operate.

The President was actually concerned about creating more manufacturing jobs to absorb the yawning under-employed and unemployed Americans.

“We decide on our business. It is always our call,” said one leader of the business process outsourcing (BPO) during a radio interview on Thursday morning.

His promise to also tighten the noose on illegal immigrants now sits well with the local Americans who think that intruders who enter their shores illegally should not be legalized. 

In fact this campaign was addressed to Mexicans entering illegally through the border, but this issue seemed to have been all forgotten when Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called Trump on his victory. 

They also did not discuss about who pays for the border wall that Trump promised to put up to stop the illegal entrants.

 

Early gainers

When nervousness hit most stocks traded in the global market Wednesday (Manila time) causing their prices to plunge along with the Mexican peso, one gainer stood up and reaped untold gains—Century Properties which soared 12 centavos or 20 percent to 72 centavos, a price last reached on Aug.27, 2015, according to BusinessWorld.

From a stationary position of 60 centavos for so long, the stock reached 74 centavos per unit becoming the 18th most actively traded stock in the local bourse. Century Properties counts among its properties, the Trump Tower Manila in downtown Manila as soon as Trump got elected.

Property developers are also confident that more Americans would be looking at properties in the Philippines, with many ethnic groups now wanting to leave America under a Trump leadership.

(Already inquiries are being made by both Filipino-Americans and real Americans wanting to leave the United States for four years are pouring in via informal social media regarding the requirements for ownership and prices of acquiring properties in the Philippines).

 

Irrelevant Pollsters

The shocking win of Trump has made irrelevant pollsters, survey institutions even network political analysts who have previously predicted a landslide for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It also brought forth the stark reality that the working class (and the middle class) of America are now fed up with traditional experienced political leaders like Clinton and the two-party system of America (with the independent candidate even stealing votes from both parties).

Trump and Duterte have both campaigned on a change platform—veering away from status quo and the establishment—which have long abandoned their welfare.

Surprising or disappointing though is that two former presidents—the Bushes—did not go to the polls because they said they don’t have a wise choice—a big letdown for a democratic process they claimed to embrace but did not. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican in Trump's party, abandoned the party's candidate and did not lift a finger to at least make sure Trump make it in his turf.

Trump’s election also showed that turfs and bailiwicks are now passé. What is real are people's sentiments about their lives and how their leaders empathize with them.

The US (and Philippine) elections showed that the working class—despite their lowliness in the past—just won’t take anymore suffering and neglect from their government and that lip service will no longer be allowed.

In the Trump HQ placards and caps stating the silent majority has spoken only lent credence to the fact that this silent majority—who refused to divulge their choice to pollsters earlier—certainly shouted through their ballots.

 

Reactions

Capital Economics, a London-based think tank, said the Philippines has much to lose, among its neighbors from a Trump presidency, referring in particular to Trump’s immigration policy.

But given his well-crafted politically-correct acceptance speech, hopes have been raised that it would not be a bad presidency after all.

“I’m sure no US president would risk violating the rights of private businesses by attempting to dictate where they should invest,” said a text message of a ranking officer of Information Technology and Business process Association of the Philippines to Business World.

Duterte’s congratulatory message to Trump also expressed an interest to enhance relations with the United States “anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law.” 

Outgoing Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia said a Clinton presidency would have been more beneficial to the Philippines given her immigration policy.

Socio Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Duterte administration has built safety nets in case of a Trump presidency by pivoting to China.

“Instead of depending greatly on the US, we are now diversifying our friendship so that we don’t crash when the country we depend on is in trouble,” Pernia stressed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the first world leaders who congratulated Trump on his victory, a friendliness otherwise unknown during his verbal spats with Trump’s predecessor, Barrack Obama.

For much of the world, however, a wait and see attitude is prevailing and leaders and their constituents would rather wait for Trump to unfold his Cabinet members and his programs for the first 100 days in office before reacting.

OpinYon congratulates the new US president on his win. We share with everyone’s guarded optimism and just wait for things to unfold. Abangan! 

 

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