The relationship between the Philippines and the United States has been tested for the past three months. Thanks to the offensive language hurled by no other than the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte against the President of the United States Barack Obama.
Aside from calling the POTUS the “son of a whore” and have expressly told Obama to “go to hell” the President has shown extreme fondness for China, the country that claims sovereignty over land masses that rightfully belongs to the Philippines.
In fact, the latest SWS poll showed that Filipinos give the United States a very good trust rating while China had a “bad” trust rating.
If all these are not enough to knock some sense into President Duterte’s head, then perhaps the seven reasons carefully outlined below will show him (and hopefully eventually convince him) why the Philippines should stick with the US.
1. First to help
As an ally, the United States had always been the first one to offer help whenever the Philippines is in need, case in point – when Typhoon Haiyan, or “Yolanda” struck the heart of the country. Remember that it was the United States that immediately responded, sending in troops to assist in the relief effort and had given aid totaling to $37 million.
What about China? Well, it was a whopping $100,000! Before you do a double take, that’s One Hundred Thousand Dollars, not a million. In fact, China received much ridicule at the time since IKEA, the furniture store, helped the Philippines more with an aid of $2.7 million.
Wow! The President of the Philippines right now is closing his eyes to all these and is in fact in the brink of surrendering Scarborough Shoal to China. Strange “would-be” ally, don’t you think?
2. Protects its allies from bullies
Being an ally, the US has shown how it will stood beside its ally when the time comes for it to take action. When the Philippines was having skirmishes with China because of the latter claiming land that rightfully belongs to PH, the US was quick to send troops and navy to conduct exercises with PH soldiers.
Although it was not to wage war against the Chinese aggressors who bully Filipino fishermen who are again, rightfully, fishing in the waters in Scarborough Shoal and the other islands, it is indeed sending a clear message that it will stand by the Philippines when things get worse.
3. One in standing for democracy
Philippines is an advocate for democracy, and so is the US. In fact, the US advocates for free speech, free people, whose rights are recognized by the government. Compare this kind of freedom, which ironically, the Filipinos have been enjoying since 1986, to the communist way of life advocated by the almost BFF of President Duterte, China, and one will see the huge disparity.
4. US is the biggest importer of agri-products of PH!
Do Filipinos know that the Philippines is the third biggest supplier of sugar to the United States? This opportunity has long been desired by many countries, yet the US chose the Philippines. Just for crop year 2015-2016, the US allocated 142,160 metric tons to be exported by the PH.
Despite these glaring figures, nobody even wondered what will happen to hundreds of thousands of metric tons of sugar being produced by the Philippines for export to the US if the latter would sever ties with the country? Does the President have the answer?
The list of products exported to the US also includes coconuts and pineapples, and many more.
5. US has the highest number of Filipino OFWs
The millions of OFWs in the United States bring in huge amounts of money to the Philippines every year. In fact, they’re among the reasons why the Philippine currency has remained strong for the past years (which is not the case now).
Think about this, if the US would impose strict sanctions against the Philippines, which would eventually affect every Filipino working in the US, and the possibility of visas being renewed will be remote, and work opportunities will be scarce. If these OFWs will lose jobs in the US and would come home to the Philippines, will the President have a ready employment for them which could offer the same amount that they earn abroad? What about the families that would be affected?
6. $200 million aide annually
While this value fluctuates, this aide, is essentially gratuity. It’s not even a loan, and it is one thing that gets the Philippine economy moving. This will be lost too, you know.
7. Soldiers used to US military equipment
Oh, and before President Duterte would push through with his plans to purchase military equipment from China, perhaps he might want to take time and hear the side of the military who have been used to US military equipment. A change in equipment, which would require new training and months of getting used to, could be fatal in the battlefield.
Since the President has all the answers, then perhaps, when all these six things go poof into the air, he might have a better solution for the country. After all, he claims that he is wiser than the rest of the world leaders, right?
Disclaimer: This piece contains the sole view of the author and not that of kami.com.ph