Two years into his presidency and I can say with candor that I remain an avid supporter of Rodrigo Duterte.
I always seem to understand what he is trying to say, given his colorful language, the emotion, and the tonality he puts on it
But Duterte’s recent statement, however, saying, “The assurances of [President] Xi Jinping were very encouraging… ‘We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs,’” is somewhat baffling to me.
In short what Duterte is trying to tell the Filipinos in particular, and the whole world in general, is that China’s leader, who finds himself elevated to the status of president for life, following the removal of the country’s presidential term limits, does not want Duterte ousted as the country’s leader.
This is definitely an instance where I can’t seem to fathom Duterte’s trend of thought.
Now, why would China say that and who are the people alluded to that would try to destabilize and oust Duterte? And why would the Philippines be going to the dogs?
Certainly, Duterte continues to have high trust and support rating from the Filipino people in his governance of the country and I don’t see any reason, therefore, why he is entertaining the thought of being ousted.
Or could it be that the close relationship now between China and the Philippines, especially with the absolute presence and militarization by China of the South China Sea (SCS), have made the two allies unite against one common enemy which is the U.S.?
There is no doubt that China’s military aggression in the SCS does not sit well with the Americans and the latter frowns upon the fact that the Philippines is not raising a hell of a lot more about China’s incursion in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Duterte had blamed the US instead for the current maritime tensions, saying they failed to stop China’s building and arming artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
That is very true and there is nothing much the Philippines can do.
China has established their dominance in the region and nobody, but nobody, could make them move out from that strategic place.
Perhaps this is the only reason why Duterte is being assured of his continuance in office because of his seeming fealty to the Chinese leader. Perhaps an assurance also that after him another Duterte could take over with China’s help.