To most Filipinos who have become only too, too familiar with dishonesty in government, it may look like just another symptom of the corruption that is still metastasizing throughout the civilian and military bureaucracy that then candidate for president Rodrigo Duterte promised to end in 2016.
The officials of the Duterte regime contradict themselves and each other daily and almost by the hour. They have individually and collectively outdone and are outdoing every other administration in the incoherence, contradictions, unreason, and non sequiturs of their declarations. A reality that is arguably as alarming as the lawlessness and the extrajudicial killings that are continuing to ravage the ranks of human rights defenders, political activists and regime critics, it is specially evident in their foreign policy discourse.
Despite the incoherence, contradictions and sheer illogic of the declarations of President Duterte, his mouthpiece, secretary of foreign affairs and other officials on the country’s foreign relations, the Duterte regime does have a foreign policy. It can be summed up as accommodation if not outright obeisance to China no matter what the costs to the Philippines and its people. Nothing else, it seems, matters — not ASEAN, and certainly not the rest of the international community.
“Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is how the rulers of China describe their economic system. But most economists say it isn’t so much socialist as state capitalist.
State capitalism is an economic system in which government bureaucrats control and regulate state-owned corporations. Some 85 percent of Chinese enterprises are state-owned. Although there are private companies, they are also government-regulated.
Had it not been for that “incident” near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, the 121st anniversary of Philippine independence would have come and gone like any other holiday whose significance escapes many Filipinos.