omw.issue.41

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with the Filipino community at the Feungfar Convention Hall in Ban Phonsinuane, Laos on Sept. 5.  (Toto Lozano/PPD)


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THE Philippines’ “hyperbolic” president did it again.

We all know what happened.

The latest victim of his mouth, President Barack Obama.

Although, the U.S. President reportedly shrugged off the profanity by saying cursing on the part of Mr. Duterte was a habit, the White House cancelled the already scheduled Sept. 6 meeting between the two presidents.

Reason: it was counter-productive to meet with President Duterte.

Meaning, insignificant, unimportant and nothing of mutual benefit could be gained by meeting with the Philippine leader at this time.

We see the cancellation as an extremely embarrassing rebuke of Duterte by Washington, D.C.

We hope that’s the last “payback” to the Duterte insult against the U.S. President.

The three Duterte spin doctors immediately did their jobs.

As usual, Atty. Salvador Panelo said, “Don’t put meaning to that. That’s just his style. It’s just hyperbole.”

(Just to recall our high school figures of speech lesson, hyperbole is an exaggeration for effect and not meant to be taken literally. Ex. “President Duterte is as handsome as Dirty Harry.”)

We hope Atty. Panelo will stop using that excuse.

The curses “Putang Ina” and “Son of a Bitch” cannot be hyperboles.

Even as a habit, those are profane languages with bad meanings and intended messages and are unacceptable.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in effect, announced that the meeting cancellation was a “mutually agreed” decision between the two countries.

We have strong reservations on the word “mutual.”

In the language of my friends, that’s an “ek, ek.”

Secretary Martin Andanar, the communications head, read a statement which expressed regret over the incident, although it was far from being an apology.

The common job of those three officials in the Duterte Administration as “firemen” of President Duterte is not easy.

Hopefully, they will always have “water and pressure” to use in putting out the fire.


***


Just as there is no perfect democracy, there is no perfect individual.

President Duterte is not perfect.

He has weaknesses.

And he has his strengths, like strong political will.

Speaking before Filipinos in Laos, President Duterte asked for more time so he could do what he wanted to do for the Filipino people.

He wished the OFWs in that country well and gave thanks to the host government for employing and protecting the Filipinos in that country.


***


According to Bloomberg, the Obama-Duterte incident had affected Philippine equities market (stocks).

In a news story from Manila after the presidential meeting cancellation, it was reported that “the local stock barometer tumbled to the 7,600 level last Wednesday, underperforming regional markets, as a mix of valuation, U.S. interest rate and political jitters escalated sell down by foreign funds.

“The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 100.08 points or 1.3 percent to close at 7,619.10, slipping for the third straight session.

“It could be partly political,” said Joseph Roxas, president of local stock brokerage Eagle Equities. While reaction to last Friday’s bombing in Davao was muted, he said investors may now be more worried about the consequences of President Rodrigo Duterte’s comments about U.S. President Barack Obama.”


***


In an earlier separate newspaper story from Manila, Bloomberg also reported that “Philippine equities sank more than any other regional stocks last month, completely erasing the rally that had taken place since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June.”

Also, according to Bloomberg, “the slide was accelerated by foreign fund managers withdrawing some $248 million from the country since the middle of August.”

One Singaporean fund manager was quoted as saying, “I can’t find a good stock to buy.”

Hopefully, this downward trend will reverse soon.

President Duterte’s declaration of State of Lawlessness in the native country could be making investors nervous.

Investors want to place their monies in stable and peaceful places.

If a country is placed in a State of Emergency, it connotes problem in peace and order.

Thus, investors leave.

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