The Life of PH

Editorial cartoon by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2019 02:53 PM

The Life of PH

In the history between countries and peoples, there are key events that define the relationship. Unfortunately for the long ties between the Philippines and China, the hit-and-run by a Chinese fishing vessel of Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver 1 near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea will seep into the consciousness of the Filipino people as an indication of Chinese "friendship." With a friend like this, who needs enemies?

The hit-and-run may have been accidental, but the act of abandoning the 22 Filipino fishermen in distress will leave a deep impression, wrongly or not, on whether the Chinese people can be relied upon when help is needed.

This is unfortunate since China has been providing assistance to the Philippines in times of disasters, and is now a major supporter of the Philippines' economic development program. Many Chinese-funded projects are items the country badly needs, although the social acceptability of some have been questioned.

China has a long way to go before it can be "trusted" by the Filipino people.

A survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in December 2018 found that 44% disagree with the statement that "most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for Filipinos," and "more people strongly disagree now compared to 25 years ago."

On the other hand, the Vietnamese fishermen's act of coming to the aid of the distressed Filipino fishermen will reinforce the long-standing friendship between the two peoples. Vietnam and the Philippines are indeed true friends.

It would be best for China to understand the Filipino psyche in responding to this bilateral irritant.

China and the Duterte administration consider it just a "ordinary maritime accident," but in the lives of most Filipinos, surviving the many hardships they face is possible only because family and friends do not abandon them, and that one should never be a "Judas" to a friend in need.