IT was, you might say, fortuitous that President Rodrigo Duterte decided to use a private jet instead of chartering a passenger plane for his recent fifth visit to China. By this, the costs of this mission to the national treasury were considerably reduced, and national expectations from the visit could similarly be lowered.

As things now stand, Malacañang is hard put to find the words and the basis to describe the recent trip to China as a success. No matter how much Filipino officials strain to locate evidence of success, they come up with very little of significance.

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