President Marcos’s schmooze with EC president Ursula von der Leyen does not necessarily doom Duterte

Antonio Montalvan in his piece “The visit of Ursula von der Leyen to Manila” published on Press One writes about of the “first ever” visit to the Philippines by a sitting president of the European Commission in July 31. This followed through on an invitation extended to Ursula von der Leyen by President Bongbong Marcos during his visit to Brussels in December last year.

Montalvan makes sure to note the absence of Vice President Sara Duterte speculatively highlighting that “her father was the cause of the collapse of EU-Philippines relations.” At some point after he enumerates the “carrot” offered by the EU to the Philippines, Montalvan drops the key payload of his blurb…

“Economic progress can only be coupled with social progress in our societies.” And that is where the negotiations for the GSP+ will be hinged upon. The EU has repeatedly demanded the release of Leila de Lima and Philippine accountability in the drug-related killings. In February, a group of EU lawmakers said that Manila’s chances of GSP+ renewal depended on whether the country rejoined the International Criminal Court.

Not surprising, of course. All is predicated on accepting the dictates of the European Union. So there’s now the pivot to the US and Europe. Will Marcos deliver former President Rodrigo Duterte on a silver platter too? Of course not. But he is willing to talk. The EU non government organisations (NGOs) continue to provide financial support to their “socialist” — nee, leftist-militant — allies in the country. These are what is left of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the mainstream. The Dutch leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its terrorist arm the New People’s Army along with its “legal front” (CPP/NPA/NDF) is all literally dead. Von Der Leyen is also the EUs point person for Ukraine. Is the stage being set for the Philippines to be the pawn against China in Southeast Asia?

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The Opposition is hoping that “justice” can be served to Duterte and his cohorts. But given the incestuous nature of Philippine politics, that won’t happen. Marcos is playing a game where he gives the EU a carrot. The EU is playing the same game. Unfortunately, this won’t end well. It’s a question of maximum utility; who has best use for whom? There’s the likelihood that both sides will end up with the stick though.

Marcos will have more pressing problems before the end of year. Inflation is still high. The economy isn’t growing at the expected pace. Oil prices are going up. The peso is depreciating. I hate to say it but Diokno and Balisacan aren’t cutting it. Both don’t have actual business experience unlike former Secretary Sonny Dominguez. We’re not going to have the same Christmas as last year as the consumption-driven economy may drastically slow down for the greater majority of Filipinos who aren’t rich.

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