Duterte’s foreign policy unfortunate–Del Rosario
This was how former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario described the policy direction being pursued by the Duterte administration during an economic forum on Wednesday.
The administration should pursue a foreign policy that was “principled, independent, and in accordance with the rule of law,” Del Rosario added.
In the same forum organized by the Stratbase-ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies, ADR Institute president Dindo Manhit cautioned the Duterte administration against the “risks [of] alienating established economic and security partners… and creating an unwelcoming environment for foreign investors.”
The Philippines “should maintain its good relations with trusted friends and pursue constructive relations with all its neighbors, in both word and deed,” Manhit said, referring to Mr. Duterte’s recent friendly moves towards China and Russia while publicly calling out the United States and the European Union, which are among the country’s top trading partners.
“An unwelcoming atmosphere in the Philippines could easily dampen the country’s economic relationships. In the United States, as elsewhere, private investors have reportedly grown skittish about the Philippines’ prospects. The US economy is the Philippines’ largest source of private investments and second largest export market after Japan,” Manhit said.
“Unfortunately, in President Duterte’s case, the term ‘independent’ appears to be shorthand for pushing the United States away and pulling China closer. Although his spokesmen and secretaries would issue follow-up statements to clarify the President’s meaning, these do little to mask his sentiments on the Philippines-US relationship,” he added.
For Manhit, “the Philippines can keep its friends while making new ones.”
Agreed Del Rosario: “I think the [government] should review what [it] means by an ‘independent’ foreign policy. It should not be a zero-sum game… you can pursue the friendship of other nations without having to sacrifice those who all the time had been there to help us.”
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