Statement / ILPS-Phils
20 November 2018
We do not expect President Duterte to stand up for Philippine sovereignty as he meets with Chinese President Xi Jin Ping today and tomorrow. The meeting will only end up in greater dependency of the Philippines on foreign monopoly capital and the further exploitation of the country’s people and resources.
The growing imperialist rivalry between US and China puts the Philippines and our people in greater peril as never before. Intensified trade wars between the two hegemons are being backed up by increasing military build-up and expansion in the region.
Duterte will be looking up for the realization of the $24-billion loans and investments pledged by Xi last year. While this has not yet surpassed financial transactions with the US and Japan, the economic incursions and resultant social and political backlash will put Duterte in a tight fix on how to serve two masters at the same time during his limited term fast running out.
The Chinese incursions into the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), conveniently condoned by Duterte despite favorable UN arbitral court ruling for the Philippines, faces off with more than 400 US military bases surrounding China, including five bases for US military use inside the Philippines. Police command centers in Metro Manila and Davao to be funded by China along with some 6,000 rifles and other combat equipment donated earlier are only good for Duterte’s bloody “war on drugs” supported by China but denounced widely by the international community.
China’s combined $7.34 billion (P368-B)in soft loans and grants and $15 billion worth of investment projects can partly finance Duterte’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program and reward local compradors and line the pockets of select politicians and bureaucrats. But the biggest winner would still be China’s own state-monopoly capital as financing facilities worth $9 billion for the so-called “joint projects” would come from the China State ($6 billion) and Bank of China ($3 billion).
The draft “Framework Agreement on Joint Maritime Oil and Gas exploration” will be a tinder box for national sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. It would be an unpardonable crime against the people if signed.
The Philippines will surely be burdened by loans and “joint projects” to be paid for by 105 million Filipinos today and by generations to come. Duterte has sprung the Chinese debt trap and will be its own victim as the Filipino people rise up to end all foreign domination and local tyranny and assert their own sovereignty.