So now the Yellowtards (that clique of self-styled “leaders” of the Philippine Opposition) have moved on and latched on to another one of those news snippets that they hope will give them their next validation fix. It’s now about the purported “snubbing” of President Rodrigo Duterte by the host of this year’s G20 summit. According to a Rappler “report”…
“The Philippines did not belong to the invited guest countries,” said the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government of Germany.
…but it seems that the Germans stopped short of releasing any information on why Duterte was not invited. And so, true to form, the “social news network” that is God’s Gift to Journalism filled the gaps by describing the non-invitation as “odd”…
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[…] given that he is ASEAN chairman this year and tradition holds that the ASEAN chairman is invited to the G20 Summit.
The important question to ask, however, is this: How important is the G20 Summit to the Philippines? Does not attending the G20 Summit pass the So What? Test? It seems that the G20 is relevant to the Philippines only as far as any consensus the forum might achieve on the West’s approach to dealing with China. Indeed, many observers continue to note that the key developed economies of the G20, including Japan, have very little in common in the way their governments individually deal with China. Furthermore, back in 2016, City University of Hong Kong associate professor Reuben Mondejar suggested that, regarding the G20 Summit’s relevance beyond being a big powow of globo-powers, the Philippines “needs no new opening to sustain economic growth as it is now fueled by sustained revenues from the business process outsourcing sector and remittances from Filipinos overseas” and even affirmed that it is “thriving on its own merit, driven by domestic demand, and it can sustainably support its own growth.”
Leftist Filipinos (who currently identify with the broader Opposition in being highly-critical of Duterte today) are also adamant that the G20 is “lacking in mandate and legitimacy to steer the direction of the global economy.” This is the position they took back in 2009 in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
What Duterte’s critics — and that Rappler news “report” — should have highlighted is the specific nature of any missed opportunity (if any) Duterte had caused the Philippines for not being included in this year’s G20 Summit in Germany. As far as the Philippines is concerned, the bulk of its priorities are far more basic than anything of consequence to the big-power issues that are tackled in the G20. It is highly unlikely that countries at that level of influence can be bothered with a country’s need to continue eking out a living off its army of overseas workers, building a navy of more than two modern warships, winning a “war” on rampant criminality, ridding its legislature of pork barrel thievery, and transforming its public transport infrastructure from a post-World-War-II national embarrassment into a modern gleaming asset worthy of pride.
So, going back to the question then of why Yellowtards are so “concerned” about Duterte not being invited to the G20 summit, the new question becomes, Ano nga ba?
What’s the big deal? The common denominator here seems to be a disturbing fixation on gaining approval from the West. This is, of course, not surprising considering the ideological heritage of the Yellowtards, a.k.a. the Philippines’ Liberal Party. The Yellowtards derive legitimacy from the liberal democratic ideals espoused by the global powers-that-be in Western Europe and North America. The need to seek validation of what is right or wrong in the Philippines from the West is consistent with the way the Opposition have, over the last 12 months to date, rabidly invited the foreign media and a motley crew of personalities and “rapporteurs” to meddle in the country’s domestic affairs. It is ironic now that they use Duterte’s being chairman of the ASEAN as ammunition to criticise him. What flies way above the pointed heads of these “critics” is the fact that Duterte has actually been busy turning the Philippines back into a real southeast Asian nation. Indeed, I wrote back then in that article…
Times have changed. As we have seen, the ascent to power of Duterte manifests a change in what Filipinos consider to be the good of their society. Duterte replaces that traditional “good” long considered to be embodied by the “victors” in the 1986 “people power revolution” now known simply as “the Yellows”. Duterte won on the back of mass disillusionment over the broken promise of 1986 that was 30 years in the slow making. Under the Yellows, liberalist democracy was perverted beyond all recognition and turned into nothing more than a pillar that propped up an expanded class of oligarchs that consolidated and concentrated power in Imperial Manila.
The Yellowtards represent the broken promise of development within the Western ideological sphere. Duterte is trying something different. And where there is a change in approach, the one’s most heavily invested in the status quo are the ones likely to fight tooth and nail to block change.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.