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Sen. Arroyo on US, China elections: ‘Let’s not hope for anything’

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Sen. Joker Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos could chew their knuckles to the bone as they await the outcomes of the elections in the US and China but whoever wins in either contest would have no great bearing on the countries’ foreign policy vis-à-vis the Philippines.

“The best thing is to just (remain) friends (with both)…We cannot control (the outcomes) anyway,” Senator Joker Arroyo said.
The senator noted, the US for example, has a “fixed policy” on aid given to the country- US$100 million a year.  And the figure does not appear to be headed for an amendment by the US Congress anytime soon.

Arroyo said the concern over leadership changes may be valid but added that he sees no radical shifts in policy of both countries.

“We have no control over either outcome.  And no Filipino can say with certitude that an incoming president or prime minister would be this or that. Or that this or that would happen to us,” he said in a radio interview.

Many Filipinos are interested in the close match between incumbent US President Barrack Obama, a Democrat seeking a second term and his rival Mitt Romney of the Republican Party.

Apart from the US hosting a significant community of overseas Filipinos, it is also one of the biggest trading partners, security ally and culture influencer of the Philippines.

China, on the other hand, has recently caused security concerns following the unwelcome presence of its vessels in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in April that led to a surprise face-off between Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and reelectionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV last September.

This after Enrile accused Trillanes of working for Chinese interests after learning that Malacañang had unofficially appointed him as “backchannel negotiator” at the height of the Panatag Shoal crisis.

China’s proximity, our trade relations with it and its growing military presence in Southeast and East Asia are oft-cited reasons why the Philippines should pay attention to Beijing’s political developments.

Later this year, China will undergo a presidential election that happens only every 10 years.

The global community widely expects Vice President Xi Jinping to replace outgoing President Hu Jintao.

Arroyo said that in the case of the US election, analysts have said their piece but a more or less unanimous prediction has not been made at the homestretch of the campaign.

“So how can we be more knowledgeable than the Americans? Or who could say these would be our benefits in case this candidate wins over the other,” the senator asked in Filipino and English.

Arroyo said the key would be “not to expect too much” for the country in either political contest.

“If we expect something more positive with a certain leader, we might get disappointed. We should not expect too much. We can hope and it’s nice to dream, no? But not too much because it may not happen so let’s not hope for anything,” he added.

Arroyo pointed out that even Malacañang already declared that there would be no change in the US’ attitude toward the Philippines whoever wins between Obama and Romney.

“If that is Malacañang’s position, I agree.  We cannot be more excited about the US elections than the Americans,” he said.


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