Monday, October 3, 2016

‘Foreign policy must be clear’

12:42 AM September 13th, 2016

THE ADMINISTRATION needs to clearly spell out the “independent foreign policy” being adopted by President Duterte for the international community to understand the path the Philippines would be taking in the next six years, a security analyst said.

“The President must clearly define what he means by an independent foreign policy in order for the international community to know our intents and values,” Chester Cabalza of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) told the Inquirer.

“Our independent foreign policy should regard the importance of present alliances notwithstanding the long-term goal of self-reliance in its defense posture to safeguard its people and territory,” Cabalza said.

Mr. Duterte emphasized the Philippines’ independent foreign policy during a speech in Davao—before his unusual debut on the world stage at the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit—where he directed obscenity-laced remarks at US President Barack Obama.

As a result, the White House canceled a scheduled bilateral meeting between the two leaders.

Mr. Duterte fumed at Obama’s intent to discuss human rights issues with him, but later regretted spewing an expletive.

He, however, continued with his tirade against the United States when he showed the brutality of American troops against Filipinos in World War II in a speech before heads of state at the Asean summit.

No fan of longtime ally

Mr. Duterte also said he was no fan of the United States, a long-time ally and strategic partner of the Philippines.

“Interpreting the Constitution, the government can and may forge an independent foreign policy. But the intent and validity of the prerogative should be taken at the right time. There should be a thorough study of past foreign policies that connects to the present global and regional security environment,” Cabalza said.

Cabalza said an independent foreign policy must be executed in a manner “not maligning small, middle and great powers.”

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