Why is the Philippines boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony?

So, the Philippines is boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Big international news, but primarily because of the China connection. Perhaps the most extensive report on this is provided by Reuters, but even they can’t seem to find an exact reason for why so many states are boycotting the event alongside the Middle Kingdom, save for a vague economic incentive kind of rationale:

Joining China in staying away are: Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

“Most of them see China as a very important supporter and protector against Western pressure,” said Nils Butenschoen, director of the Norwegian Center for Human Rights.

The Philippines provides the world with the clearest explanation of the boycott:

“We do not want to further annoy China,” [a senior Filipino diplomat] said.

Understandably a lot of Filipinos were enraged by the news (we usually are enraged by anything the government does anyway). But I will save my agreement or disagreement until after we’ve been given a full explanation for why our peace-loving country is boycotting the most prestigious peace prize in all of humanity. “We do not want to further annoy China,” however is unacceptable. On the PR front, somebody please send this diplomat to communications training.

The other thing that has irked some Pinoys is the way the Reuters article lumped the Philippines with Serbia and Ukraine:

Ukraine, Colombia, the Philippines and Serbia are “flawed democracies” …

The main contentions were: 1) How dare they lump the greatness of the Philippines with lesser states like Serbia, Colombia and the Ukraine, and 2) they’re calling us a flawed democracy? ‘scuuuuze me!

Well, first of all, let’s do #2. The Reuters article explains it:

According to the democracy index, a rating system compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, none of the countries that plan to skip the Nobel gala are “fully fledged” democracies.

Ukraine, Colombia, the Philippines and Serbia are “flawed democracies” and the rest are either “hybrid regimes” or “authoritarian” states — such as China, which ranks in 136th place out of 167 countries covered in the 2010 democracy index.

It’s the Economist, stupid. The 2010 one is only available through purchase for now, but here is a link to the 2008 EIU Democracy Index: The Economist

If you really believe the Philippines is a perfect (opposite of flawed) democracy, please, speak up or forever hold your peace.

On to #1, do we really want to have a problem being lumped with Serbia and the Ukraine? I don’t know much about the Ukraine or Colombia (save for their amazing amazing coffee and the fact that they are pulling through the FARC issue better than expected), but may I just note that Serbia is well on its way to join the world’s second largest economy (World Bank 2008 ranking), the EU, thanks to the persistence of a few European parliamentarians in Belgium who seem to be willing to overlook the country’s failure to extradite perhaps the world’s most wanted fugitive Ratko Mladic to The Hague to face multiple counts of war crimes including genocide, in exchange for the economic and political benefits Serbia brings to the table for the mighty EU.

Let’s steer all our attention back now to the real question and quit the quibble over “failed democracies” and misplaced nationalism.

WHAT’S THE REAL REASON BEHIND OUR BOYCOTT OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE CEREMONY?


Photo credit: some rights reserved.

Felicity

  • ProLife

    Im sorry but the way I see it, Noynoy just tarnished her mother’s pro-democracy and pro-human rights legacy. I mean, it was clear that China was threatening countries who will attend the nobel peace prize with Economic sanctions and the fact that the Philippines abstained just goes to show that Noynoy’s government bowed down to a bully country. He traded off the Philippine’s values and principles for economic aid from an evil government. Im ashamed I even voted for the guy, I liked Pnoy before he made these kinds of decisions involving the Philippine’s but-kissing of the PRC.

  • Anonymous

    Boycotting is shameful. When are we going to act like the large (12th largest) and proud country that we are? We should stop kowtowing. We should proudly stand up and defend right, as one of the oldest democracies in Asia and the world. For a century, beginning with the Philippine Assembly, the Philippines has been holding elections. If China has a problem with us standing up for free speech and political activism, well, they should just go pound sand.

    Besides relations between countries are not like personal relationships. They are built on shared or conflicting national interests, not on whether one country shows another “respect”.

  • Anonymous

    Boycotting is shameful. When are we going to act like the large (12th largest) and proud country that we are? We should stop kowtowing. We should proudly stand up and defend right, as one of the oldest democracies in Asia and the world. For a century, beginning with the Philippine Assembly, the Philippines has been holding elections. If China has a problem with us standing up for free speech and political activism, well, they should just go pound sand.

    Besides relations between countries are not like personal relationships. They are built on shared or conflicting national interests, not on whether one country shows another “respect”.

  • I think the Foreign Secretary or someone from DFA needs to explain the reasons for our boycott. This is perhaps the first time that the country has stood with China on such an issue of vital importance. Previously, we have followed in lock-step with the US in pressing for human rights in the region especially in the case of Burma.

  • I think the Foreign Secretary or someone from DFA needs to explain the reasons for our boycott. This is perhaps the first time that the country has stood with China on such an issue of vital importance. Previously, we have followed in lock-step with the US in pressing for human rights in the region especially in the case of Burma.

  • Manuelbuencamino

    The real reason is we weren’t invited in the first place. It’s true.

    Our invitation was ready but before it could be sent out the Nobel people read the SC decision on the Truth Commission. They said, “Forget it. Those monkeys don’t know the first thing about making peace.”

  • Manuelbuencamino

    The real reason is we weren’t invited in the first place. It’s true.

    Our invitation was ready but before it could be sent out the Nobel people read the SC decision on the Truth Commission. They said, “Forget it. Those monkeys don’t know the first thing about making peace.”

  • Spectre_revenge

    This is more like China threatens weaker countries- boycott it or it’s economic sanctions

  • Spectre_revenge

    This is more like China threatens weaker countries- boycott it or it’s economic sanctions

  • Anonymous

    Pilipinas boycotting 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies seems straightforward. China let Noynoy know that China wants Pilipinas to boycott, Malacanang 3-headed HYDRA recommended Noynoy the wisdom of agreeing to China request. Hindi nga ba “We do not want to further annoy China,” [a senior Filipino diplomat] said. Economics (China-Philippine trade) more important now than Noynoy’s Malacanang affirming support of human rights, women-rights, LGBT-rights and religious-rights activism in China as well as in Pakistan, Senegal, Afghanistan, Uganda, Egypt and in other places around the globe. And neither USA nor EU would hold grudges about Pilipinas capitulating to China about 2010 Nobel prize ceremonies, just like USA held no grudges when, 8 weeks earlier than its announced departure date, GMA capitulated to terrorists threatening beheading of a Pinoy worker and GMA yanked Pilipinas troops out of Iraq. (But GMA was also pressured by Pinoys-in-Pilipinas, not by China or Saudi Arabia.)
    _________________
    AND…. China just put up a lighthouse on an island that Pilipinas has claimed in the spratlys. So far, Malacanang is quiet and has not even asked ASEAN to intercede.

  • Anonymous

    Pilipinas boycotting 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies seems straightforward. China let Noynoy know that China wants Pilipinas to boycott, Malacanang 3-headed HYDRA recommended Noynoy the wisdom of agreeing to China request.

    Hindi nga ba “We do not want to further annoy China,” [a senior Filipino diplomat] said. Economics (China-Philippine trade) more important now than Pilipinas affirming its support of human rights in Mindanao and in other places around the globe.

  • Anonymous

    Pilipinas boycotting 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies seems straightforward. China let Noynoy know that China wants Pilipinas to boycott, Malacanang 3-headed HYDRA recommended Noynoy the wisdom of agreeing to China request.

    Hindi nga ba “We do not want to further annoy China,” [a senior Filipino diplomat] said. Economics (China-Philippine trade) more important now than Pilipinas affirming its support of human rights in Mindanao and in other places around the globe.