Jun 14, 2024

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines (left) with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Dear Mr. Duterte,
I did not vote for you for one big reason:

Your position on the West Philippine Sea during the campaign was totally unacceptable to me.

Many more like me who did not vote for you shared this view. Now that you are past your first 100 days, your campaign stance on the WPS has descended to being deplorable. Not only have you forsaken our national patrimony, you have also disfigured yourself into the world’s only Chihuahua-sized pariah.

To be fair, you said upon returning from your state visit to China that you declared before Xi Jingping that the Scarborough Shoals are ours. Really? You did that? And you want us to believe it? How many times have you said something and reversed yourself shortly thereafter? How many times were you negated by the very people you appointed to cabinet?  I have no reason anymore to believe anything you say.  Very few thinking people do.

So in order to understand what the real Philippine situation is in regards to the WPS, instead of referring to your statements, I will instead point to those from the Chinese. In a recent government release, the Chinese made it clear to everyone that Filipino fishermen will “be allowed” to fish within the Shoals only “with certain conditions”. If your thinking is too shallow to not understand what the Chinese effectively said, let me explain. China says they own Scarborough Shoals, that those reefs and atolls are within Chinese territory as defined by their nine-dash line doctrine, that Filipinos have no business going there without permission, and that you Mr. Duterte have voluntarily given up our claim to those territories despite The Hague’s ruling in favor of the Philippines.

Here’s is something for your perverted ego. You are turning out to be a unique head of state. You are without equal in this universe. No one in the history of civilization can compare with you. Mr. Duterte, you must be peeing in your pants with glee about this. You see, no one – no head of state, no president, no prime minister, no king, no prince, no generalissimo, no dictator, no ayatollah, no chancellor, no “eternal leader and great father of the people” – have ever done what you have done.  No one ever gave territory and patrimony away voluntarily to a foreign country. Not one.  Not without a fight anyway. No one even in their most hideous moments ever betrayed their own people the way you have. You are alone in this realm.

So Mr. Duterte, go jump with joy. Rejoice. Celebrate your uniqueness in the company of your henchmen and all the cyber trolls who are employed to spread lies, and pretend that the entire Filipino nation is behind you.

Do what you do best. Shove your middle finger – this time at Juan dela Cruz.

Joe Zagala is an Ontario resident who has been actively participating in Greater Toronto’s Filipino community. He is a past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Toronto), former Vice President of Kalayaan Cultural Community Centre, a former (and only Asian) director of The Riverwood Conservancy, and one of the original organizers and a past president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Toronto.  Joe is a holder of BS Chemical Engineering and MBA degrees from UP.  He held high positions within large corporations in Canada, including Vice President for Global Business at CipherSoft Inc.  He is Managing Director of Lily Framarc Management Consultants based in Mississauga, Ontario.

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- Discontent stirs up winds of change (First of a three-part series)
- Illusion of a progressive Philippine economy (Second of a three-part series)
- Quo vadis Philippines: ‘Da Digong’ and the Muasher Doctrine (Third of a three-part series)


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