As yet another Asian neighbour steps into the Philippines infrastructure ring, there are some questions that the people of the republic really need to be asking themselves.
With both Japan and China now promising to invest heavily in the Philippines and offering the country access to debt since Duterte’s pivot away from the west, Filipinos need to ask themselves “at what cost?”
Japan and China are far from allies. While relations have been tense but polite for many years neither country has forgotten what happened in World War II. This is particularly true of the Chinese. The massacre at Nanking is as fresh in the minds of many Chinese now as it was when it happened in 1937. The anger at the lack of anything but the most half-hearted apology from Tokyo is palpable in the hearts of many Chinese.
The murderous tactics that the Japenese army employed on the beaches at Stanley in occupied Hong Kong are also far from forgotten, with scores of people murdered. The Philippines finds itself a pawn between two very powerful kings.
In a game of tug of war no one cares about the rope. However, if the right diplomatic track is taken by Malacañang then the Philippines is in a position to profit from the game of face-saving oneupmanship that is currently happening.
There have been suggestions from the usual social media trolls in all the usual facebook groups and other forums that these acts are somehow philanthropic. Rest assured, people of the Philippines, neither of the countries that is currently courting your affections has a history of doing anything for nothing.