PH pivot to China ‘a safety net’ in case trump wins

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Nov) – The Duterte administration’s pivot to China was “a safety net” in the likelihood of a Donald Trump victory in the United States presidential elections, a senior official said Wednesday.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director general Ernesto Pernia told a press conference during the second day of Philippine Development Forum at the SMX Convention Center here Wednesday that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s move was “diversifying our friends” so that the Philippines won’t crash if the “country we depend on is in trouble.”

Speaking before news came out that the Republican candidate won, Pernia said, however, said that “it’s very hard to speculate” on the impact of a Trump victory to the Philippine economy.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez revealed that stock market investors in the country were wary of a Trump victory.

He admitted that he himself wasn’t sure what the effects of a Trump presidency will be. “We will have to wait and see what policies a Trump presidency will implement,” he said.

Pernia, however, believes that Trump’s victory will not adversely affect the Philippine economy since US companies who are investing in the country have the freedom where they want to expand their businesses.

“The US economy is private-sector driven,” Pernia said, adding that he doubts Trump can compel the private investors whether to focus their investments in the US or outside. “It’s the decision of the firms and not the government unless there is a way of penalizing them,” he said.

But despite his tirades against the US, President Duterte, in a Malacañang statement, has extended his warm congratulations to Trump.

“The United States presidential elections is a testament to the enduring traditions of its democratic system and the American way of life. The two-party system gives American voters freedom of choice based on party platforms, not just on personalities,” the statement said.

It added that the Duterte wishes Trump success in the next four years as chief executive and commander-in-chief of the US military and looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippine-US relations anchored on “mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)