(Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shaking hands with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kucyznski during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru last November 18-20, 2016. Photo credits: Philstar)
As part of the Philippines’ ongoing push to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West, we would like to suggest why don’t we consider establishing stronger links with the Latin American nations?
Previously this blog has discussed the possibility of direct air links with the continent, this time we will discuss closer political and economic cooperation.
We all know the Philippines and Latin America has shared cultural links thanks to three centuries of Spanish colonization. We have had the Acapulco galleon trade from 1565 to 1821, when the Latin American counties declared independence from Spain one by one.
American influence in our culture had somehow diminished centuries of common heritage, but why can’t we rekindle these? For example, we have something in common when it comes to religiosity, telenovelas, and populist politics to name a few.
In keeping with modern challenges, this proposes that a new regional bloc with these countries could help us cope with common problems such as poverty and income inequality, a common approach in combating illegal drugs (PNP Dir. Gen. Bato dela Rosa has visited Colombia to study their approaches), and reestablishing cultural links, including reintroduction of the Spanish language.
We can also heavily promote tourism and trade opportunities, generating revenue and creating jobs.
There’s a lot of work to be done and this is a big gamble which if handled efficiently will generate huge benefits for both sides.