In compliance with our course, Current Issues and National Development, we, the selected students of III-BMA, Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting of the University of Makati, have undertaken to suggest some recommendations about the present and future effects of the Philippines’ possible shift in alliance economically and militarily. Our nation’s future heavily relies on its relations with other countries. And up to this day countries such as US and China are dominating the world stage when it comes to economy and bolstering their power in their respective areas of domain. The Philippines with regards to its relationship with these countries, benefits from trades, employment, loans, and others. But with the ongoing disputes in our territories and the involvement of these two ‘superpowers’, such as China claiming parts of the West Philippine Sea and USA trying to ‘neutralize’ the tension, it is clear that a shift in alliance, if ever will affect our nation’s present condition greatly.
With consideration in the possible future effects of our country’s move, we suggest with politeness the following recommendations in terms of:
A. Improvement and Modernization of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Improving our coast guard will ensure our sovereignty over our country’s area of interest. Having a much more capable patrol boat and vessels and well-equipped personnel is a force to recognize not only by Filipinos but also to those who are involved in the territorial dispute. Also, this will better implement our maritime laws.
B. Protection of rights of Filipino fishermen both in Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal from intervening elements.
The security of our fishermen is the primary priority in terms of civil security in the West Philippines Sea. And for their rights to be protected, the former suggestion is in connection with the latter. Educating the people on their rights is useless when there is no one to back them up when commotion heats up. That is why a better law enforcement and protection of the people have to be provided so that our people have something to fight for.
C. Enhanced China-ASEAN military cooperation in South China Sea/West Philippine Sea
Unity in diversity is the best, yet the simplest way to put an end in the dispute. Commencing military and civil exercises can be done. Not just in military matters, but also in disaster preparedness. Countries in the ASEAN region and also China can participate in various civic welfare activities to educate the people about the environment with their knowledge and to open up boundaries to enhance each of every country’s perspective about each other by educating its people.
D. More independent military activities of the Philippine Army with USA to rebalance its military relations with other nations especially China and ASEAN.
Rebalancing its military relations with other countries such as ASEAN and China by way of being less active with US force is a good strategic way of gaining intra-region trust between these countries so that there will be less misunderstanding and doubt. It is because a show of favouritism and reliance to such world power will just build a gap for us to reach our neighbouring countries. We should focus on what is more valuable to us right now and it is to bridge our way and to cross borders.
A. Better attention and management of BPO industries in the Philippines which are mostly US-based.
The government should pay attention to the growing numbers of BPO employees because they generate the highest source of private employment. Tax incentives and other benefits are ways to further improve the employment condition of these workers. These benefits will have the vibrant effect of employees prompting to work in BPO companies which are mostly US-based.
B. Retention of ODA or Official Development Assistance of US in the Philippines.
The Philippines should maintain its social relationship with the US because it serves as a ‘personal’ qualification for receiving aids and loans from them. ODA is crucial for us because most of our loans are from this type of assistance and that the US has the discretion of not granting the Philippines the loans when our contract with them expires. That is why having the US as a state that can help us whenever we needed to is vital for accumulating funds.
C. More balanced export to import ratio with China.
We need to establish trade agreements that will provide more opportunities for the Philippines to sell more products and goods to China to better balance our trade relations. The current trend in our bilateral trade right now is that our import from China dramatically exceeds our export to them. This in turn results in a trade deficit which is not good for the economy. Though we know that Chinese goods are relatively cheap and Filipinos find it wise and practical to consume, we should however be also aware that in order for our economy to grow, Philippines should promote its own product that is distinct from other countries. In this way, not only the economy will benefit but also the ordinary people especially those involved in the goods that can be potentially exported.
D. Maintain a bilateral trade and investment with the US.
The government should make a move of preserving our economic relationship with the US like the maintenance of our trade agreements with them. Not only will this be a fundamental factor for our friendship with them but also it will save and create lots of jobs for our fellow countrymen.
We have always been a firm believer of this country and these recommendations have been researched and learned through our minds and hearts. May this open letter serve as a constant reminder to all of those who believe in the bright future that is ahead of us.
God bless us all.