Quid pro quo visa for US? Mr Duterte thinks so

I read Mr Duterte plans to impose visa requirements on US citizens visiting the Philippines. So here's my thought: This guy has a twisted view of economics and foreign policy.

First, almost 80% of Filipino passport holders are approved for a US visa every year. Contrary to popular belief, the odds of getting a US visa are actually in your favour. So what's this guy whining about? The visa is the least of problems. I suggest the President focuses on improving the economics so the next time our middle-class thinks of going to Los Angeles, they can (actually) buy plane tickets.

Second, visa regimes, while imperfect, are in place to combat illegal immigration and terrorism. Very few countries have visa-free access to the US, mostly Europeans, and even then they have to register themselves before travelling, once every two years.

Third, and most importantly, our tourism sector is lagging behind our neighbours. We need more tourists than limit them. Imposing visas on US citizens, who by the way produce the second most number of tourists to the Philippines after South Koreans, will severely affect our tourism industry. Because while maybe it's more fun in the Philippines, Americans would probably spend the time and effort to go to Thailand instead.

So the next time Mang Juan's sales of buko juice in the beaches of Boracay plummets, and Manong Johnny's bangka rentals in Palawan fiddles, I guess we can blame the almighty lord and saviour Mr Duterte. He is such a misguided populist.

Our foreign policy (yes, it exists!) is founded upon strong diplomatic alliances, kinship with almost every country, and meeting our international obligations. If you read the history of the Philippine visa regime, you'd realise that it reflects the warmth and welcoming nature of Filipinos, not some mind of a guy going awry.

Well, true to the words of his campaign, change has indeed come.


Originally posted in my Facebook post: