Tell It to SunStar: Survival over national interest

By Louise Michelle Mondejar and Jade Jared Rendon, BA International Studies, USJ-R

The United States and China contribute a lot to the Philippines economically, politically, socio-culturally and militarily. Both states help shape the Philippines.

In a news article of ABS-CBN on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines has no business being a republic if it cannot fight its own battles. Despite the Philippines’ military alliance with the US, Duterte said Filipino soldiers are still the ones handling the country’s communist insurgency and illegal drug problem. During the oath-taking of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts officials, he said the Philippines could not stand on its own feet, it might as well choose between becoming a territory of the US or China. This was his strategic response to the tenuous relationship between the economic superpowers.

As a Filipino citizen, we stand for our right as an independent republic, which is capable of administering simple justice. We are supposed to exercise our own sovereignty. However, looking at the current state of the Philippines, we can’t stand on our own. Considering the political, military and economic aspect: “Can the Philippines maintain a stable government? Can the Filipino defend themselves without the help of other countries? Does the Philippines have a stable and growing economy?”

These questions are yet to be answered. We do not need to choose whether to be part of the US or China. What we need is for our President to make a decision that could ensure the survival of Filipinos. The President must prioritize national interest over foreign interest. The Philippines as a developing country needs to choose a strong ally to reduce poverty, promote resilience and to have a good quality of life.

We have to accept the reality that we need stronger states that can support us, but let us not forget that we are a sovereign country that should know how to stand as a nation.