US-Philippines relations under Trump presidency

by Paul Henson, ABS-CBN News


WASHINGTON D.C. — A nation divided during the elections is divided still, even as Donald Trump is about to take his oath as 45th President of the United States.

Joining the protests are Filipino-Americans who say they are troubled by the leaders from both countries.

Unpredictable, fiery, and explosive — similar characteristics that analysts note between Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It’s not getting any better now that we have leaders who are so negative towards everything. I feel like the world may be almost ending,” said protestor Daniel Ignacio.

“They’re in their 70s; they feel they can say whatever they want. I have 70 years of experience,” said Professor Jay Gonzalez of Golden Gate University. “I’ve made mistakes, I’ve made good decisions, and overall it looks like I’m a success story. So their ego is backed by the wealth of 70 years of experience.”

But these shared qualities may also make for dicey relations, if the two nations’ leaders find themselves on opposite sides of issues.

 In a phone call last December, Duterte said Trump supposedly endorsed his administration’s controversial all-out war against drugs — a bloody campaign that has caught the ire of many human rights groups worldwide.

“As the extrajudicial killings increase, Trump as a global leader should say something and should discourage it,” said Gonzalez. “How he will say it will be the question.”

On the issue of national security, Duterte favors the exit of American troops from the Philippines.

Despite tensions with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Duterte favors a bilateral approach to dealing with China.

For his part, Trump seems to have no plans of scaling down on U.S. troops in the Asian region.

Professor Gonzalez reveals that [Trump] is set to brief American troops who will be part of an even bigger deployment to Asia.

“These exercises involve not only the Philippines, but also deployment to Korea and Thailand,” he said. “This first round, which is part of a larger program called Pacific Pathways — 3 deployments, beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year.”

A life of uncertainty, meanwhile, awaits some 300,000 undocumented Filipinos living in the US. 

“He might go after unauthorized Filipinos, beyond those they are already deporting right now, because they are criminal immigrants,” Gonzalez added. “The first are criminal, but he might go those second-in-line — which are Pinoys who are unauthorized but have no criminal records.” 

On the economy, some business leaders fear Trump may discourage U.S. companies from outsourcing work overseas in order to keep jobs in America.

That would mean a huge dent to the $22-billion BPO industry in the Philippines, 70 to 80% of which are US companies.

 Philippine-US relations have been long, deep, and at times contentious. But those ties will be put to the test as Donald Trump assumes the US presidency. 



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  • h
    20 January 2017 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Hey you all Filipino American, don’t say anything bad about Donald Trump, because you all is nobody in my country. If you guys think president Trump is bad go back to Philippines and lets see who is bad of a president. I just hate to see you Filipinos from Philippines try to make this place your home. The only reason you all came here to America is because in Philippines you all poor, and luck you had come to America to work to feed your family back home in Philippines. Now that Obama is gone watch yourself a lot of Americans don’t like Filipinos.