President Bongbong Marcos on Philippines’ China-US balancing act: We are the grass that doesn’t want to get trampled on

(Eagle News)– President Bongbong Marcos likened the Philippines to grass that doesn’t want to get trampled on, as the government noted the Philippines’ precarious balancing act in considering bilateral relations with both China and the US.

The Presidential Communications Office said the President made the statement in Davos, Switzerland, while interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

He made the comment as he noted that the Philippines was increasing its cooperation with the US while developing mechanisms to ease the tension with China amid geopolitical issues in the Asia Pacific.

According to the PCO, the President said in a separate interview with the Financial Times that he also expected intensified military relations with the US, but ruled out the reopening of the former US military bases in Clark and Subic, noting that allowing foreign bases was against the country’s Constitution.

In making the comment, the President noted that the Philippines was on the front lines, with 150,000 Filipino nationals living in Taiwan and Kaohsiung located just 40 minutes away from Batanes.

The Philippines and China also have overlapping claims over the South China Sea.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, however, noted that China’s nine-dash line, which it uses as its historical basis for its territorial claims, was invalid.

Quoting an African proverb, the President said when elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.

“We are the grass in this situation. We don’t want to get trampled,” he said.