Nov 052017
 

Hello Tommy,

My answers to your questions are found below in capitalized form .

Roland Simbulan

Professor in Development Studies and Public Management,

University of the Philippines

and

Vice Chair,

Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg)

On Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 6:52 PM, <zhen.yang@sputniknews.com> wrote:

Hi,

 

This is Tommy with the official English wire service Sputnik News in Moscow, Russia.

 

Sputnik News: What kind of message is President Rodrigo Duterte sending by visiting Japan, ahead of two important regional summits, the APEC Summit and the ASEAN Summit?

Prof. Simbulan: JAPAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN IMPORTANT FOR PRES. DUTERTE. WHEN HE WAS MAYOR OF DAVAO CITY, JAPANESE INVESTMENTS AND JAPANESE ODA WERE A SIGNIFICANT PARTNER  FOR DAVAO’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

 

Sputnik News: How important is Japan to overall strategy of the Philippines in the Asia Pacific region?

Prof. Simbulan: JAPAN’S BILATERAL ODA AS WELL AS ITS INFLUENCE IN THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK(ADB) HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF FINANCING FOR PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS ESPECIALLY FOR ITS INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, A FACTOR WHICH MAKES IT ATTRACT MORE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS AND CAPITAL.

 

Sputnik News: Is the Philippines seeking closer ties to countries like Japan in the Asia Pacific region to deter China’s growing presence in the South China Sea?

Prof. Simbulan: I THINK THAT PRES. DUTERTE’S STRATEGY IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND SECURITY IS TO SECURE THE MAXIMUM GAIN FROM ALL COUNTRIES. THIS IS WHAT HE REFERS TO AS A BALANCED AND INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY. HE WILL EXPAND TIES WITH CHINA, RUSSIA AND JAPAN WITHOUT NECESSARILY DOWNGRADING RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES. IT IS ALSO A STRATEGY THAT HE IS USING IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA ISSUE SO THAT THE PHILIPPINES WILL NOT BE A PAWN TO ANY FOREIGN POWER.

 

Sputnik News: With US President Donald Trump set to visit the Philippines in early November and take part in the ASEAN Summit, does this mean Washington is trying to maintain a close relationship with Manila, to make sure Duterte doesn’t “defect” into the arms of China or Russia? How important the Philippines is to US strategy in the Asia Pacific?

Prof. Simbulan U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP NEEDS TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES FOR THE ASEAN SUMMIT SO THAT THE U.S. WILL NOT BE SIDELINED BY ITS ABSENCE AND ABDICATION OF ITS ROLE IN THE ASEAN. FOR CHINA IS ALREADY PLAYING A VITAL ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL ROLE IN THE ASEAN SUMMIT AND THE U.S. DOES NOT WANT TO BE LEFT BEHIND. I DON’T THINK THAT DUTERTE INTENDS TO DEFECT INTO THE ARMS OF CHINA OR RUSSIA; HE ONLY WANTS TO EXPAND OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS SO THAT WE CAN MAXIMIZE THE BENEFITS WE CAN DERIVE FROM ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD. PRES. DUTERTE HAS ENOUGH PRO-U.S. GENERALS IN HIS CABINET (INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ENVIRONMENT, NATIONAL DEFENSE, NATIONAL SECURITY) TO ASSURE HIS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES. IT HAS ALREADY BEEN LONG ESTABLISHED THAT THE STRATEGIC LOCATION OF THE PHILIPPINES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC GIVES IT THE ADVANTAGE FOR THE “FORWARD-BASING STRATEGY” OF THE PENTAGON.

 

Sputnik News: How is Duterte trying to balance relationship with three global powers including the United States, China and Russia? Is there any sign that Duterte is tilting towards one specific country, as apparent allies like China and Russia have completely different goals in the Asia Pacific region.

Prof. Simbulan: ALREADY, THE BALANCED RELATIONSHIP OF THE DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION IS PAYING OFF. THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES HAS BEEN SUPPLIED WITH SIGNIFICANT MILITARY SUPPORT (WEAPONS, AMMUNITION, ETC.) FROM CHINA, RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES, ESPECIALLY DURING THE BATTLE FOR MARAWI. IN THE BATTLE FOR MARAWI, THE U.S. PROVIDED DRONE SUPPORT, INTELLIGENCE & RECONNAISSANCE, AND MEDICAL SUPPORT FOR PHILIPPINE TROOPS. CHINA AND RUSSIA PROVIDED WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION ESPECIALLY FOR URBAN WARFARE.

 

 

   

 

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