Why the seeming change in the Duterte regime’s response to Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea? Is it because it fears that mass opposition to its refusal to do anything to stop Chinese bullying could affect the chances of its candidates at both the national and local levels on May 13?
The public opinion surveys of the past year or so have confirmed that most Filipinos distrust China while wholeheartedly favoring the United States. Over a majority of the population are skeptical of the former’s intentions, and would like the Philippine government to do something about its occupation of the West Philippine Sea.
Now on its 26th year in the Philippines — March 29, 2019 marked the 25th year since the country was “wired” into it — the global communication network known as the Internet has been rightly hailed as another milestone in providing the perennial human need for information.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is expected to promote international understanding and defend Philippine sovereignty. It is also tasked with protecting Filipinos abroad. In its dealings with other countries, it is of course assumed that the DFA will enhance and defend Philippine interests through diplomatic means. But equally important is its affirmation in word and deed of the value and need for the country to honor its international commitments to human, civil and political rights.
Debates between candidates for public office are among the means some media and civil society organizations are using to help voters decide who deserve their support. They’re specially useful in the Philippines, where those running for this or that post are often hardly distinguishable from each other in terms of platforms and programs, if at all they have any.