PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte should practice “big-tent diplomacy,” welcoming all and shunning no one since national interest is served by extending amity to all, and hostility to none.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto stressed this point in reaction to the President’s pronouncement during a state visit in China that he is “severing” military and economic ties with the United States but expressed the desire to improve relations with China.
“Foreign policy rebalancing should not mean that we swing the pendulum to the other extreme, that we dump old friends for new suitors,” said Recto.
In rewriting the country’s foreign policy playbook, he said the President “need not unfriend someone to befriend another.”
“Any drastic shift in our foreign policy direction should be well-thought-out and not simply blurted out,” said Recto.
“It should be a product of deep study and wide discussion. Because of its far-reaching implications, it cannot be an announce now, study later thing,” he said.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on the other hand threw his support behind the President’s “independent” foreign policy.
“It’s very good that for the first time, we have a President who is now emphasizing that concept in our Constitution, that we must pursue an independent foreign policy,” said Pimentel.
“We should realize that there are other (super) powers. If we do not accept that, we will always toe the American line,” he added.
Recto said that crafting an independent foreign policy requires “introspection, not impetuousness.”
“This is all the more true if the object of the President’s pique is … a nation that is home to the largest number of Filipinos abroad, the biggest source of foreign exchange remittances, one of the biggest ODA donors, a major market of our products and services, like the BPO (business process outsourcing),” he said.
“Yes, our relations with the United States may not be perfect. But a country which has illegally built a great wall of sand in our seas is not, and far from, the epitome of a good friend either,” said Recto.
He added: “By all means, let us push all the reboot buttons with all countries but without having to blast to pieces some of the good relations our nation has nurtured for generations.”
“As to our joining Russia and China in a new axis, let us fix our traffic first before we insert ourselves in the power games of nuclear states,” he said.