Updated 13:35 PM PHT Fri, November 11, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte has little love for America, while US President-elect Donald Trump has tagged the Philippines as a terrorist country. But the maverick leaders may just get along, say analysts.
But while they find common ground in their independent streaks, Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-free trade stance will affect the Philippines, they added.
"They're both mavericks. They're out of the ordinary," said political and economic analyst Peter Wallace on CNN Philippines' "The Source" in an interview Thursday.
"They are both very independent people and I think they may get on well together because of that," added Wallace, an Australian businessman-turned-Filipino citizen.
Both Duterte and Trump rode unprecedented populist movements in their respective presidential elections despite their controversial rhetoric on race and women, among other things.
Wallace noted a trend that characterized anger at the establishment and a clamor for change.
"It's a global trend today. People are showing a disaffection for politicans. Duterte won here because of exactly that: They (Filipinos) wanted a difference. Trump won... Britain had Brexit," added Wallace, referring as well to Britain's vote in June to leave the European Union.
Duterte previously butted heads with outgoing president Barack Obama, whom he told to "go to hell" after his administration expressed concern over alleged human rights violations in the country's war against illegal drugs.
"I think Trump is not going to press our President in terms of our track record in human rights," University of Santo Tomas political science professor Dennis Coronacion, also told "The Source."
Duterte congratulated Trump on Wednesday, saying "Mabuhay ka. Pareho tayo nagmumura [Long live. We both curse]."
Pinoy illegal immigrants: "Time to come home"
However, Trump's stance on immigration will have negative consequences for Filipinos in the U.S., and by extension, their families in the Philippines who relied on their remittances.
About half a million undocumented Filipinos now in the U.S. will suffer the backlash of the new president's immigration policy, said Coronacion.
The Trump platform included promises to "curb uncontrolled foreign worker admissions" and "select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in the U.S. and their ability to be financially self-sufficient."
This would "affect Filipinos who are expecting to have their petitions (for immigration) approved," said Coronacion.
Trump also announced in October as part of his action plan for his first 100 days that if elected, that he will "suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur."
The vetting of immigration applications to the U.S. will also "affect a lot of Filipinos who are trying to get into the (U.S.)," Coronacion added.
In an election rally in August, Trump named the Philippines as one of nine "terrorist countries" alongside Iraq and Pakistan.
Filipinos who were legally in the US would be "okay," said analyst Wallace, though he agreed that Trump would most likely follow through on his promise to tighten the influx of immigrants.
"If you are illegally there, you are today, at risk," said Wallace. "And probably the wisest thing, sad as it is, is to come home."
Overseas Filipino Workers remittances in 2015 totaled 26 billion dollars, with eight billion dollars coming from Filipinos in the U.S.
Trade and employment
Trump won the election based on promises to bring back to the U.S. millions of jobs that are offshored in other countries.
"I think we should be (alarmed), because American companies are one of the heaviest, biggest investors in the BPO industry," Coronacion said, referring to the business process outsourcing industry.
The BPO industry in the Philippines brought in $22 billion in revenues and employed more than one million in the country in 2015.
But Wallace was optimistic that firms will stay put despite a call to pull out because of lower costs of living in the Philippines.
"They won't do it. They can't afford to it," said Wallace. "(The U.S.) is too much of a democracy... Business is too dominant in America and the world today for him to force things like this upon business."
He estimated that wages per hour in America are equivalent to wages in a day here.
Trump has vowed to rescind the U.S.'s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge free trade agreement awaiting ratification that cuts taxes on goods among 12 countries across the Pacific region.
The Philippines is not a part of the agreement but had previously expressed interest in joining the TPP, which Trump's rival Hillary Clinton pushed for during her term as Secretary of State. Being part of the TPP would have eased tariffs slapped on Philippine products entering the U.S.
"The TPP is dependent upon America being part of it, because it is the biggest economy," said Wallace. "If (America) isn't part of it, the TPP doesn't really exist anymore."
It remains to be seen if U.S. lawmakers will back Trump's decision to pull out of the TPP.
"I'm hoping that he will be persuaded by his more sensible cabinet, perhaps, that it is not a threat to America; that it's good for America; it's good for American jobs; it's good for American products, and that he will agree to it," Wallace said.