Washington should not squeeze Manila into ‘US-China competition’: Global Times editorial
Published: May 11, 2022 12:50 AM
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippines presidential candidate, arrives at his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Manila, the Philippines, on Monday, May 9, 2022.Photo: VCG

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippines presidential candidate, arrives at his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Manila, the Philippines, on Monday, May 9, 2022.Photo: VCG

According to Philippine media, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, cemented a landslide election victory over Vice President Leni Robredo. Furthermore, his running mate, Sara Duterte, daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, also won the vice presidential election. Because of their close policy philosophy, Philippine media outlets said the two would form "joined forces" and predicted that the new administration would most likely continue Duterte's relatively pragmatic and balanced style.

US and Western public opinion generally labeled it as "the most important election in the Philippines over the four decades," and believe that the election result will affect the direction of the Philippines on Washington's "Indo-Pacific chessboard." They have tried to interfere and guide the Philippine electoral agenda from the very beginning of the election. For example, they simply and rudely categorize candidates as "pro-US" and "pro-China," underlining that this is a "contest of values," and hyping that all candidates except Marcos Jr. are "in tough stance" on issues of the South China Sea. These "hints" are so stark that they almost lecture Filipino voters how to vote.

Marcos Jr. made it clear that he would not lean to either China or the US, and would only be "pro-Philippines." He has repeatedly expressed his desire to develop relations with China, called for a solution to the South China Sea issue through dialogue and described China as a "friend." These remarks suggesting his reluctance of taking sides have stimulated some forces in the US and the West. As a result, some US and Western media outlets labeled him as the "son of a dictator." After Marcos Jr. secured the win, they warned that "kowtowing to China" would put the Philippines once again "in a weak position."

Frankly speaking, these expressions are quite rude, implying extreme disrespect and even humiliation of Filipinos as well as contempt for the country's sovereignty. 

In the eyes of some arrogant people from the US and the West, it seems Filipinos should only care about the "China threat" and US Indo-Pacific Strategy. And if the people of a country don't make the "right choice" as Washington wants, it shows the "fragility" of that nation's democracy.

Calling its allies and partners, Washington is eager to stir up trouble in the South China Sea. But these forces are becoming increasingly "pretentious" in the region. In this year's presidential election, Marcos Jr. was supported by a large number of young Filipinos who care the most about the economy and employment rather than the dogmatic "values" of the US and the West. 

Marcos has rich experience in local governance with good record among governors in the Philippines. Some US and Western media portrayed his victory as a "victory for Beijing," pretending not to see Filipinos' desire for national unity and development - such a yearning is strongly supported in Southeast Asia.

It's clear that the US is taking advantage of the Philippines while not giving it the respect it deserves. The US is unwilling to truly spend any money to help the Southeast Asian nation's development, but still constantly interferes in the latter's internal affairs. In fact, Washington has never treated Manila with sincerity. It sometimes has to make the gesture of roping in the Philippines due to its geopolitical value. This makes US policy toward the Philippines erratic, contradictory and hypocritical. Refusing to be a tool for the US to contain China, Duterte eased relations with China after taking office. This has proven to be more in line with the Philippines' national interests. It is also what Filipinos want to see.

It is worth noting that it is a discourse trap that the US and Western media labeled Duterte or Marcos as "pro-China." That word has been twisted by US and Western media into "kowtowing to China." In fact, they want to use the label to hinder and intimidate goodwill and rationality toward China in the Philippines and drive a wedge between the two countries.

China respects the choice of the Philippine people. China-Philippine relations are based on the fact that the two countries share common interests. We hope that both sides will continue to create new opportunities for common development and bring more practical benefits to the people of both countries while enhancing peace and stability in Asia.