Hontiveros calls for ‘independent, progressive’ foreign policy
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on fellow legislators to spearhead an effort to craft an ‘independent and progressive foreign policy” amid challenges that the nation face especially in the West Philippine Sea.
Hontiveros asserted that the country needs at this point a foreign policy that will genuinely reflect the hopes and interests of Filipinos, and veer away on the culture of impunity and abuses.
“I appeal to my colleagues to join hands in pushing for a foreign policy founded on the principles of equality and human rights, particularly the right to life and dignity, and in the context of our other challenges, such as China and the West Philippine Sea,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to the senator, the Duterte government’s current foreign affairs policy cripples the country’s standing in the international community because it “nurtures impunity and the climate of killing while surrendering our sovereignty and territories to China”.
“The country needs a foreign policy that is truly reflective of the Filipino people’s interests and aspirations,” added Hontivero, who subsequently chided the Duterte administration, which she accused of “protecting impunity rather than Philippine sovereignty.”
Hontiveros issued this statement after Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano charged the European Parliament (MEP) of “interference in Philippine affairs” and “crossing a red line” by passing a resolution condemning the Duterte government’s war on drugs and extrajudicial killings.
“President Duterte’s foreign policy is protecting impunity not sovereignty. He and his ilk are the ones who are ‘crossing the red line’,” the senator said.
“His foreign policy people like to use the word ‘sovereignty’ when what they really want to do is silence all forms of dissent, domestic and international, while they stay appallingly silent about China’s blatant incursions into our territory.”
“This administration likes to insist that its war on drugs, which violates our international commitments to human rights, is an issue of sovereignty, but in the same breath, it cannot defend our territory against China. This is not a defense of sovereignty. It is shameless cowardice,” she added.
In a resolution passed on Thursday, the MEP condemned extrajudicial killings that purportedly targeted mainly the poor in the anti-drug campaign, the continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima, and threats against human rights defenders, including Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, among others.
It also urged the European Union and its member-states to “consider calling for” the removal of the Philippines from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.