btw.issue.no.43

President Benigno Aquino III addresses the Filipino community in Boston at the Robsham Theater, Boston College, on Sept. 21.


by.the.way.1


NO hard feelings.

On Aug. 28, 2014, The New York Times wrote a scathing editorial, “Political Mischief in the Philippines,” calling on President Benigno Aquino III to “stop butting heads with the court.”

The Times editorial didn’t end there.

It urged PNoy, as the President is better known, to “gracefully step down when his term is up.”

We’re sure the piece was avidly read and digested by palace loyalists.

When he visited New York last Tuesday, PNoy agreed to sit down with a New York Times reporter for an exclusive interview.

President Aquino expressed his concern about the “hot and cold” messages from China in connection with the territorial disputes between Beijing and Manila over areas in the South China Sea.

The disputes had created “a tense backdrop” to the relationship between the Philippines and China.

Last Tuesday evening, PNoy told the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University that he hoped that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea will soon resolve the Phillippine’s claim in the West China to achieve regional stability and prosperity.

He said, however, that although the conflicting claims between the two countries, the issue is not the totality of their bilateral relations.

When he visited China in 2011, then Chinese President Hu Jintao said that would not be an issue.

In the same year, Philippine companies invested in China an estimated $2.5 billion, while investments by Chinese companies in the Philippines amounted to about $600 million.

Despite the hostage-taking of Hong Kong nationals at the Luneta, Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines number about 200,000 every year, while Filipinos going to China reach 800,000 annually.

In his Times interview, however, PNoy said trade between the two countries continues to grow, but a travel advisory is enforced in China discouraging visits to the Philippines.

There was a time when export of bananas to China was stopped, he told The Times.

Because of the geopolitical point of contention the United States, a Philippine ally, has been entangled.

Whether at home or abroad, China is not far from PNoy’s mind.     

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