Due to the tirades of President Rodrigo Duterte against the United States and the European Union (EU) who also dared the two to withdraw their assistance if they wish, British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad on Twitter, remind Filipinos of the help the country received from foreign donors after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
On his personal Twitter account, Ahmad posted a list of donors and the amount they have donated to the Philippines.
Seems like there are some who did not like what Ahmad posted because it looks like a 'panunumbat' to the Filipinos and to our country.
With regards to this issue, Van Ybiernas, a professor in De La Salle University (DLSU), on a Facebook post, briefly contextualize the statements of the British Ambassador.
According to him,
One needs to contextualize the statements of the British Ambassador yesterday, which is what we'll do ---very briefly--- here.
The Philippines and the UK are not direct alliance partners. What we have, as of the moment, is a triangular alliance with the US and UK. We are allies with the US. The UK is allies with the US. Therefore, the common denominator here is the US.
What we have with the British is a long commercial and trade partnership that has historically been more beneficial to them than us. Before the US colonized the Philippines, Britain was our largest trading partner. It was one-sided though. We were buying large quantities of British textiles and they were buying our sugar. If you're from Iloilo, you probably heard of Nicholas Loney (Muelle Loney), the symbol of British interest in Philippine sugar. BTW, cheap British textiles destroyed our once thriving weaving industry. Filipinos shifted from wearing woven garments to cheap cotton textiles beginning in the 19th century.
Britain used to be a major security (military) presence in Southeast Asia because of its colonial bases in Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar. After World War II sapped Britain's strength, their military presence in the region diminished. In time, they deferred to the US for regional security. Britain instead focused on commercial and trade opportunities centered on HK and SG. There is still a sizeable British economic interest in the country but no longer in the scale of the colonial era.READ ALSO: Amazing Remarks Of A Professor On 'Duterte EFFECT' On Foreign Policy
Okay. What made the British Ambassador talk of the Philippines not being what it used to be towards its "friends"?
Commercial and trade relations between the Philippines and the UK have not changed. So, what is he talking about?
He's talking about what is expected to be a larger role for China in the Philippine economy brought about by improving relations between the two countries. This is alarming for other countries engaged in trade and commerce in the country. China has more cash. Lots of cash. Did I say lots of cash? Plus, Chinese products are considerably cheaper than the products of Britain or of anybody for that matter. Better relations between China and the Philippines is making other countries nervous. They see their interests threatened by big bad China.
That's why we have the sumbatan episode. The UK saw their Yolanda assistance as buying for them Filipino loyalty against big bad China.
British businesses are worried and that's why their Ambassador is bringing out the panunumbat card...
Hope this helps...