President Rodrigo Duterte is preparing for a historic visit to China next week, while at least 400 businessmen are excited to go with him to explore business with their Chinese counterparts.
According to a Chinese newspaper, this is the first time that a Philippine president will visit China with such big number of business delegates. The government of China said it is preparing to host Duterte’s historic visit for three days.
The West, especially the United States and EU are monitoring closely what Duterte and Chinese leaders will have to discuss.
Many economic experts including an Australian business strategist said Duterte’s pivot to China could play a major role in keeping the South East Asia peaceful.
Since China is welcoming Duterte with open hands, the following are the things the president will likely to accomplish upon his return.
1. Return of Filipino fishermen to West Philippine Sea especially to Scarborough Shoal. The Scarborough Shoul is a traditional fishing ground for Filipino fishermen and losing the chance to fish there will have a big economic and livelihood impact on Filipino fishing community, especially in Zambales and Pangasinan. Duterte will have all the chances to pull this off.
2. Philippine-China joint mineral exploration in South China Sea. Duterte is right – the Philippines cannot take back the Scarborough Shoal which was occupied by China after a short military stand-off on 2012. There is no way for us to get it back. US will not do anything that would not favor them. The only solution is through bilateral talks and sharing of resources with China. A join exploration between the two countries will be a win-win for the Philippines.
3. Increase the Philippine’s Agricultural Export. China has already announced it would lift the ban on more than 27 Philippine fruit-exporting companies as a gift to Duterte. Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the Philippine Agriculture can benefit if China invests in agricultural equipment and investment capital. China is also the main Philippine customer in agri-products.
4. Mindanao and Luzon Railways. China had shown interest in helping the Duterte administration in building railways inside the country, especially in Mindanao. The Clark to Subic will be the first Chinese project according to sources and construction will be started next year. A railway in Mindanao, and Manila to Bicol could expedite the region’s progress.
5. Major Investments in construction, Agriculture, and Infrastructure. The progress of a country is always based on infrastructures and Duterte is seeking to bring Chinese investors to the Philippines. The Philippines – once a leader in producing rice could do it again under the Duterte administration.
6. Education and Tourism. The Commission on Higher Education said few days ago that inquiries of foreign students from China ballooned in the last two months. CHED is expecting thousands of Chinese students to enroll in Philippine higher institutions next year. With the approval of bridge construction between Iloilo and Guimaras, tourism will prosper in untapped Guimaras Island. The number of Chinese tourists is also expected to increase if the Philippines and China has good relations.