Malacanang is very happy with the week-long sojourn of Pres. Marcos Jr. in New York.
While the main purpose was to address the UN General Assembly, a usually ho-hum event, and more of an annual junket for heads of state to the city that never sleeps, the president was able to squeeze in talks with several personages, from the super senior Pres. Biden to the supra senior Henry Kissinger.
He also met with the business community leaders, many of whose firms have been here for some seven decades, even more.
Some have since transferred their manufacturing operations to Indonesia or Thailand, leaving just a marketing arm in our country. Will the assurances of our president get them to expand here?
Or will buying treasuries be safer haven while the Federal Reserve Board is on an interest hike binge?
The answer must be simple: not yet; not now.
For unfortunately that is how the whole world economy is in these days and in the months and perhaps another year to come: wait and see, and, meanwhile, look inwards.
The plunge in our exchange rate versus the US dollar is in fact an American sponsored devaluation which, to a great extent, exacerbates another US sponsored inflation. The other day, the peso hit a record low of 58.99 to the mighty dollar.
Whenever heads of state visit rich countries, they should remind themselves of that successful 80s marketing slogan of a diner chain in the US — Denny’s.
“Where’s the beef?” they taunted the competition in TV ads, meanwhile showing generous portions of their so-so steak astride a mountain of French fries.
In New York, we got ladles of promises, but where’s the beef?
Predictably, as soon as the president got back, the Chinese ambassador paid him visit, perhaps to reiterate his government’s invitation for Marcos Jr. to come to Beijing, and into the open (?) arms of Xi Jinping.
A former high government official invited me to a bet: as to where the president would first visit, officially that is — Washington or Beijing?
I bet on Beijing. He says it’s DC.
Well, Biden met the president in New York, on the sidelines of their common hegira to East Side Manhattan. But not in DC, and not officially.
I think I will win this bet. It well might be Beijing next. But wait: before he goes, lesser officialdom should ask the Chinese — where’s the beef?
As for the US of A, two things militate against an official visit these days: Primero, no hay premium beef to serve at the rate their economy is going; and Segundo, there will be mid-term elections this November that keeps Biden and the Democrats in tenterhooks.
And for Beijing, right after the third coronation of Xi, a state visit by the Philippine president should be a “harmonious” (China’s favorite adjective) occasion.
But just a reminder, looking at President Duterte’s five-year bromance with Xi.
Before jumping aboard a jet to the celestial capital, Pres. Marcos Jr. should ask “where’s the beef?” and “when will it arrive?” Baka naman nga-nga ulit?
Just do not be surprised when the Chinese hosts ask back: “It’s your fault. Your bureaucracy asks too many questions, and you act too slow.”
Remember that Chinese saying, “When the rains pour, bring out your basins.” Former Chinese ambassador Zhao kept complaining about our slow absorptive capacity.
Now that the money rainfall is drying up in the Chinese economic clouds, asking for the beef might result in sukiyaki-thin slices.
But who knows? After his third coronation, President Xi might be more generous. For after all, he and he alone, calls the shots in his country. Sukiyaki-thin can become stroganoff slices. Thank the celestials for their tender mercies.
But on the night after his homecoming, a rude welcome brought Karding visiting Central Luzon. It is as if the heavens rained on the Malacanang parade.
We rename the international brand of typhoons when they enter the Philippine area of responsibility. Noru became Karding.
It used to be the nasty practice of our meteorologists to give female names to typhoons, until gender sensitivity brought about a level of political correctness.
Although naming Yolanda in lieu of Haiyan in 2013 did not stop it from becoming the strongest typhoon in human memory. Mercifully Karding did not tarry, and the Sierra Madre blunted its strength.
Still, wide swaths of destruction in Polillo, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales and Bulacan would make you cry with empathy at our kababayan. In most cases, harvestable palay was caked in mudflows, no longer fit for human consumption.
Now the DA will have to recalculate their supply situation of the staple grain. Let’s see how Noru behaves when it hits land in Vietnam, which is a major exporter of rice.