Duterte has arrived at the scene, clean and free of options. He has so far towed a neutral line between politics and economics with economics take a stronger precedent. Duterte has the same choice as Aquino, American and Japanese weapons to go to war, or economic aids, finance and development to rebuild the Philippines, to go for higher economic growth to benefit the people of the Philippines and the country. China has the cash and the knowhow and the big market to drive the Filipino economy to greater height, to rebuild a new infrastructure that is badly needed, to link up the country with highways and super trains.
The politics of the South China Sea cannot be resolved in the foreseeable future and is best to go to the negotiating table while the two countries build on improving economic ties and cooperation to improve the lives of the Pinoys. Or would politics still be the dominant force in Filipino politics at the expense of economics? China could pour in billions into the Pinoy economy and only good can come out of it.
On the contrary, Duterte can join the American and Japanese alliance that could lead to nought but the possibility of warfare that the Pinoys would pay dearly. The Americans and the Japanese are broke and can only offer the rejects of their military arsenal, the mothball hardware or hardware destined for the museum to the Pinoys. Would these be good enough, would these improve the lives of the Pinoys and their economy?
At stake is the modernization of the Philippines, the rebuilding of a whole country to become a jewel in Asean. Which way would Duterte choose? He is new and has the liberty to choose with the mandate as the new President of the Philippines. His victory is testimony to what the ordinary Pinoys want, a better life, a peaceful life, not war and political rhetoric and libido.