US election seen from Philippines: Will the US push China out?

US election seen from Philippines: Will the US push China out?

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter with Rappler, an online news platform in the Philippines. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Carlos Santamaria: In your opinion, why do you think this US election matters to Filipinos?

CE: It's because of the situation with China. We are so close to China physically. And at the same time, the Philippines has been a colony of the US for the longest time. The influence is still there. We're waiting to see what the US role will become after the election.


CS: One of the major campaign issues here is the "new Cold War" between the US and China. How do you think Filipinos view this US-China competition?

CE: Filipinos have more love for the US than for China, especially with the tensions between the Philippines and China in terms of the harassment and the militarization in the South China Sea. Filipinos trust the US more than China. But sadly, it hasn't translated to our government yet.

CS: How would you say the Philippines was affected by the outcome of the 2016 US election?

CE: Filipinos seem to compare President Duterte with President Trump, and we all know their similarities. In terms of Filipinos' lives, it's more about the presence of the US in the South China Sea. It's really a big issue for Filipinos because we really care about the South China Sea. And now we feel like there's not much influence from the US to try to stop China from further encroaching on those maritime waters.

CS: But the Trump administration recently reversed course and endorsed the 2016 arbitration ruling that struck down China's claims in the South China Sea. Do you think Filipinos are aware of the new official policy?

CE: Yes. But some Filipinos would really look at the actual effect, because it was just recently and for the longest time coupled with a pivot to China by our president. We feel more and more the presence of China in our own land. We have more Chinese here, we have incessant reports of abuse or harassment of fishermen. So even if the US changed its policy, for the longest time their presence has been very limited.

CS: The Philippines is consistently one of the countries that has the highest approval for Donald Trump. How would you explain that?

CE: Regardless of who the president is, Filipinos have an affinity for Americans, which is kind of sad when you look into that, how Filipinos view themselves as compared to America. Even before and then with President Trump, some Filipinos think the US is not really present in our region now, compared to before. But they cannot really associate that with President Trump himself. As for President Trump, they see him very much like President Rodrigo Duterte. They're alike, you know, he says what he wants. And just to prove a point, I think many Filipino-Americans, immigrants in the US, I talk to them and they're also voting for President Trump. It's like they really want someone who can relate to them in a sense, they feel these are real people because they say what they want. Not necessarily the right things.

CS: What do you think the stakes are for the Philippines with the upcoming US election?

CE: Security in the region and in the country depend on how the US will deal with the Philippines in trying to convince our government not to really get too close to China. I think it's too late already, but let's see if maybe Biden wins, there's a chance that he will convince the president to slow down because right now even our infrastructure, telecommunications are all being taken over, infiltrated by Chinese state companies. We need the US back for the balance of power to return to the region.

CS: If Biden wins, how do you see him convincing Duterte of anything?

CE: We had a terrible relationship with Obama. Right now, what really angers Duterte are the actions of the US senators. If there's a way for Biden to talk to the senators to stop or to slow down on Duterte and his allies... If Biden tries to do a different attack than what Obama did with blasting Duterte on human rights, because Duterte doesn't like being shamed in public, that's one thing he could do to try to improve their relations.

You have to understand that Duterte wants to save face in public. Maybe they could negotiate behind closed doors. Not slam him in public because he has this macho image that he has to protect. And that's what he really hates, being criticized in public.

CS: If Duterte were charmed by a future US administration, how would China take that?

CE: China will not easily give up because the Philippines for the longest time has been the loudest critic of their militarization in the South China Sea. But we have now kept quiet because of ties with China. I think China will not give up, we're not going to see China backing away from this. One thing that the new US administration can do is also to try to reestablish ties with the Philippine military. Our military has a US background in training. Even with the president now, it's still not easy for the military to follow China because their training is all patterned from the US. But the first thing they have to do is not attack Duterte in public — that's really one thing that will block his mind. Like, if you're attacking me in public, no. Whatever you say, no.

This interview is part of the GZERO project Global voices on the US election, which you can find in full here.

This week, the market value of Tencent, China's biggest video game company, nosedived after a state media outlet suggested that online gaming was as addictive and destructive as opium. Tencent immediately pledged to cap the number of hours people can play, and to keep minors off its platforms.

It's the latest example of a months-long crackdown on major Chinese technology firms that until recently were viewed as some of the world's most powerful and successful companies, as well as a source of national pride. Beijing's about-face on its own tech titans could have big implications for China, and beyond.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent COVID-19 policy developments:

The Biden administration extended an eviction moratorium even after the Supreme Court said they couldn't, what's next?

Well, the CDC imposed a nationwide eviction moratorium in light of increased risk from evicted people because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court in June ruled that they (CDC) overextended their authority in doing so and mandated that the moratorium expire on schedule in July. A group of progressive activists weren't happy about this and raised a huge stink in Congress, but Congress recessed for their August vacation before they could solve the problem, putting big pressure on President Biden to extend the moratorium even though he said he didn't think that it would pass constitutional muster. The CDC did it anyway, extending the moratorium until October 3rd, which is a time that's short enough to probably avoid it being overturned by lawsuits, but long enough that Congress has time to figure out how to either extend it on a bipartisan basis or put more money into a rental assistance fund that few people have taken advantage of so far. This whole incident shows the power of progressive activists in the Biden administration who were able to elevate the profile of this issue and potentially prevent millions of people from losing their homes this summer.

More Show less

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer takes a look at the yin and the yang of alcohol's role in high-level diplomacy and society at large. Alcohol can bring people together just as easily as it can tear them apart. From a 1995 Clinton/Yeltsin Summit where a drunk Yeltsin almost derailed Bosnian peace talks, to Obama's Beer Summit and the recent G7 Summit, booze plays a part in how world leaders interact. Globally, alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing, by over 70 percent between 1990 and 2017, according to one report. . Low and middle-income nations like Vietnam, India, and China are a driving force behind that trend, with drinking in Southeast Asia rising by over 34 percent between 2010 and 2017. And yet, amidst this global booze boom, the world has only grown more and more divided.

Watch the episode: The (political) power of alcohol

Equestrian jumpers, and their horses, are disciplined species. They don't appreciate surprises very much.

But many participants were caught off guard during this week's individual jumping qualifiers in Tokyo by a very daunting statue of a sumo wrestler on the hurdle course (which is dotted with statues paying homage to traditional Japanese culture, like geisha kimonos, cherry blossoms, and taiko drums).

More Show less

For Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, protesting at the Games is fine — as long as it doesn't "interfere" with the competition itself or awards ceremonies. The Olympics, in his view, are an oasis of calm in the middle of an increasingly tense world, and "we shouldn't be spoiling that by pointing out the obvious , which is that there are social and political problems." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World on US public television.

India's rape problem: Hundreds of protesters have flocked to the streets of New Delhi for four days straight after a 9-year old girl was raped and murdered in a small village outside the capital while going to fetch water for her family. Some demonstrators burned effigies of India's PM Narendra Modi, saying that the government has not done enough — or anything, really — to address the country's abysmal rape problem: there were more than 32,000 rapes recorded in 2019, certainly a vast undercount given the stigma associated with reporting sexual assaults in India. The scourge of sexual violence against women and girls in India was brought to light in 2012 when a 23-year-old woman was gang raped and murdered while traveling on a bus in the nation's capital, prompting international outrage. Four men have been arrested in connection with this week's attack, though they have not been charged. The city of New Delhi, meanwhile, has ordered an inquiry to probe events surrounding the young girl's death, though Indians who have been sounding the alarm on violence against women for decades aren't expecting much to come of it.

More Show less

It's been 365 days since twin blasts at a Beirut port decimated Lebanon's capital. More than 200 people were killed and some 7,000 were injured, yet accountability has been scarce. There is ample evidence that multiple Lebanese officials knew that ammonium nitrate was being improperly stored at the port. Four high-ranking politicians, including former PM Hassan Diab, have been charged by a Lebanese judge, but they all refuse to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Since then, Lebanon's already-dire economic and financial crises have only intensified. The Lebanese pound, the national currency, has plummeted, losing 90 percent of its value since 2019, when the country's economic crisis erupted. And more than 50 percent of the population is now living below the poverty line.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Does alcohol help bring the world together?

GZERO World Clips

How should athletes protest at the Olympics?

GZERO World Clips

Does alcohol help or harm society?

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal