FOREIGN Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has asked the United States to give the Philippines the chance to mature, develop and grow to be able to be a “big brother” to its own people.
Yasay made the appeal when he discussed the foreign policy directions of the Duterte administration at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Thursday.
Yasay said “we cannot forever be the little brown brothers of America.”
When asked on the “missed opportunities” due to the White House’ cancellation of the scheduled meeting between US President Barack Obama and President Rodrigo Duterte after the latter warned that he would swear at Obama once he raises the issue of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, Yasay said “we’re asking America, to look at our programs and President’s commitments to change in light of our priorities, urgent needs and historical experience.”
He told the panel that “Filipinos fully understood the sanctity of human life, dignity of life, respect of inalienable rights to liberty, freedom, responsibility.”
“These have already been established in the minds of Filipinos, and it is precisely at the core of struggle for independence and our right to self-determination,” said Yasay.
“It’s in this context, I’m asking our American friends, American leaders to look at our aspirations, we cannot forever be the little brown brothers of America.”
He added that: “at one point in time, we have to mature, we have to develop, we have to grow and become the big brother of our own people, of next generation of Filipinos.”
Yasay said US officials should not go to the Philippines with a list of grants and with a corresponding checklist to comply with.
“You don’t go to the Philippines telling us, I will give you something, I will help you grow, but here is the checklist you have to comply with and we will lecture you on human rights. Our goal is towards full respect of human rights and international norms.”
The Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs has been the target of global criticisms particularly the US, United Nations, and other international human rights groups due to the increasing cases of extrajudicial killings.
From July 1 to Sept. 14, 3,077 drug suspects have already been killed.
Yasay said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte does not condone any unlawful killings as part of his anti-crime crackdown and the government is firmly committed to uphold respect of human rights.
“The rule of law doctrine fully governs the President’s war on criminality and illegal drugs,” he added.