Here’s what’s been happening in the Philippines over the weekend.
Philippines, China and the US military
The continued dispute against China and the Philippines over the South China Sea has the Philippines looking for help from the US.
The President of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III believes that the country’s military force still needs to rebuild and strengthen its facilities, weapons etc. and that the aid of the US military will help the Philippines in that area.
The President is happy with the decision of the Supreme Court with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). “To my mind, EDCA has a very practical purpose for developing our own armed forces,”
On the other hand, EDCA dissenters warn that the country might lose its sovereignty with the said decision. EDCA dissenters are the only 4 associate justices who voted against EDCA- Teresita-Leonardo de Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas- Bernabe and Marvic Leonen.
Indonesia Terrorist Attack
Indonesia suffered from terrorist attacks last week that killed four civilians and four attackers.
While the Islamic State in Syria or ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, Indonesia police said that the guns used probably came from the Philippines as they were well built.
According to the police, there were nine other weapons seized by the counter terrorism raid prior to the attack. The 12 people who were arrested during the raid said that the weapons were from the Philippines.
The last terrorist attack in Indonesia happened in 2009.
Barclays forecast a growth of 5.0% in remittances for 2016 despite the decline experienced in the past year due to the underperformance of inflows coming from the US and the UK.
On other related news, revenue from business process outsourcing or BPO may soon overtake revenue coming from remittances of overseas Filipino workers. Looking at the data for the demand for office spaces, the growth of BPO industry is strong.
Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services said that it expects revenue from BPOs to hit $25 million.
Vice President Binay Booed From Festival
Vice President Jejomar Binay attended the Sinulog Festival in Cebu last Sunday to give a speech but he was booed by the 10,000 people as soon as he was introduced by suspended Mayor Mike Rama. The Vice President was only able to greet the crowd and did not continue his speech anymore.
Mr. Binay came to Cebu with running mate for the 2016 elections, Mr. Gringo Honasan, his senatorial candidate Princess Kiram, Alma Moreno, Harry Roque and suspended Makati Mayor, Junjun Binay. The party attended the festival inside the Cebu City Sports Center.
Warm Welcome for Davao’s Duterte in Taiwan
Davao City mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, received warm welcome from shrieking female fans at the Taipei Expo Park.
Mr. Duterte said that his three day trip to Taiwan is “aimed at gaining a better understanding of Taiwan’s political, economic, social and infrastructural development.”
Mr. Duterte is one of the top contenders for the 2016 Presidential elections after 7 consecutive terms in Davao. He earned the title of “the Punisher” from Time magazine back in 2002 and locals gave him the moniker “Duterte Harry” because of his style of cracking down crime.
A Taiwanese entrepreneur in Davao believes that Duterte-style of tough leadership can help in controlling chaos brought about “excessive democracy.”
Philippines Still One of the Fastest Growing Economy in the Region
The World Bank forecast the country to have a 6.4% growth for 2016. The country is just behind China’s expected 6.7% and Vietnam’s 6.6%.
Despite global and regional economic instability, the World Bank foresees growth due to public and private partnerships and government spending.
The country started experiencing growth under the watch of President Aquino. In fact, in 2014 it grew over 6% and 5.6% last year which is pretty impressive for a country lagging behind its neighbors for years.
Experts believe this is mainly due to the administration’s highly publicized anti-corruption campaign and the potential for Mindanao’s peace talks giving way for investors to reconsider the country.
This makes the election happening this year even more significant. Filipinos need to elect a president who can continue attracting investors by being seen as anti-corruption and pro peace talks. In addition, the next president need to be experienced with international relationships to deal effectively with China. At the same time, the next president should have a plan on how to deal with the aftermath of natural calamities and disasters that the country is prone to receive each year. Lasty, the next president should charismatic enough for Filipinos to give confidence and trust as their next leader.
The Philippines is on the rise once again with its middle class buying power and attitude inviting international investors over.
Although there are a lot of issues that the country needs to deal with, this year’s election may continue the growth or kill it. The future of the country really lies on the hands of the voters this May.
Hopefully each will vote responsibly and wisely. Let’s pray that the turn of events be for the best.