For the Chinese-Filipino community here and abroad, what does the future look like under the Biden presidency? The effects of the 2020 US election may very well reverberate in China and the Philippines for years to come. With this, an esteemed panel of leading experts and businessmen discussed the outlook and impact of the election in a recent webinar titled, ‘2020 US Elections and the Implications for US-China-Philippines Relations,’ presented by Blackwater with CHiNOY TV.
The event featured Dr. Yukon Huang, one of the notable experts on Chinese economy and US and China economic and foreign policy issues. He is also a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. and an adviser to leading banks and other governments and corporations.
Aside from Huang, Chinoy businessmen Dioceldo Sy and George Siy also spoke as panelists, weighing in on the implications of the election, as well as other topics like the US-China trade war, infrastructure projects, and more. Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo, chairperson of the Build Build Build Committee of the Department of Public Works and Highways, also joined them. Here are their insights:
“Since last year, there are lots of trade wars going on between US and China, and being a businessman, it really concerned me, and at the same time, the relationship has grown from bad to getting worser and worser every day,” Sy said.
According to Huang, relations between the US and China may not necessarily improve under President-Elect Joe Biden as Democrats and Republicans seem to be united in a common negative perception of China.
Despite that, however, Sy remains optimistic that under a Biden presidency, things will get better.
“I hope that upon a Biden presidency, I was looking that there will be a more stable, harmonious, predictable relationship between US and China because it’s like in a family. If the two heads of state or the two parents are not fighting, it’s easier to work in a peaceful environment, while if they’re fighting, the policies will keep on changing, and our working environment will be very unstable. It’s so hard to run a company, or the business if the situation is not stable and predictable,” Sy noted.
“So, the harmonious working relationship between the two powerful countries is extremely beneficial to the Philippines. So, we are hoping that with [President-Elect] Biden, there will be lesser tension and [I am] looking forward that there will be a more harmonious relationship between the two countries,” Sy added.
Siy, a civic society leader and Chairman Emeritus of Anvil Business Club, also echoed the aforementioned sentiment and hopes that Biden will be able to deliver as well.
Regarding the US-China trade war, Siy pointed out, “We have a lot of things to learn from both sides, apparently. I think it’s very obvious that the US is still the number one market in the world, although China is fast catching up and probably will surpass in some categories. Technology-wise and culturally, we have a very strong affinity with the US, but China is right beside us, and so is ASEAN, which is the fastest growing region also in the world.”
Siy also noted that it’s important for the Philippines to build its own capacity as well. It shouldn’t just “depend on the winds that are blowing in the world.” He emphasized that this can be done by investing effectively in infrastructure, not just building them, but evaluating them from multiple viewpoints as well.
China’s infrastructure projects in PH
Lamentillo shared, “In 2012, the Philippines lost about 2.4 billion a day, according to JICA, and this number has gone up to 3.5 billion a day and we’re only talking about Metro Manila traffic. The road usage in Metro Manila is about 13.4 million trips per day and this could go as high as 16.1 in a span of 17 years and without any infrastructure intervention, our loss of 3.5 billion a day will increase to 5.4 billion in 2035.”
Lamentillo went on to add, “We have two China projects: the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge and the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge. These two projects are part of the EDSA decongestion master plan, which is composed of 25 big-ticket projects, which essentially wants to decrease the volume of traffic back to 1970. When you talk about EDSA, it’s an infrastructure circumferential road built during the 1930s, expanded in the 1970s, but it’s overcapacitated by about at least 40 percent so, we want to bring it down to the 1970 level as far as traffic volume is concerned.”
With the rise of fake news, propaganda, and politics, both Siy and Sy added that events like webinars can help the public understand issues better.
“Currently, we are in a very good potential situation in that both the US and China are not, unlike a lot of other countries, not just providers of finance. They are themselves the providers of the market, the finance, and the technology. So, we are complementary — potentially complementary — if we make use of this,” Siy said.
“Be open-minded,” Siy advised. “We have to look at how we can benefit, even amidst dispute. We cannot let the disputes be defining of our relationships entirely,” he added.
Huang concluded, “Biden will want to form stronger alliances with the countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia. He sees ASEAN as an important political coalition of countries. He also will see the Philippines has a potentially major role to be played, economically speaking. As I mentioned earlier, Vietnam’s capacity is more or less used up. The next logical place to build a capacity in East Asia to diversify is the Philippines so, I think you’re going to find yourself both politically and economically getting more attention from the Biden administration than you got from a Trump administration.”
“This combination of what I call change in political pressure and economic roles gives the Philippines a good opportunity to actually move ahead in a very positive way in the coming period of time,” Huang said. “And I think this is going to be potentially the Philippine period in the next decade.”
Watch the full discussion here: https://fb.watch/1IHVXTKtah/
The author of this article:
An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.joseph.s.medina/