President Duterte’s strong political will has enabled him to declare an independent foreign policy for the country.
This means his administration would henceforth pursue international relations based on principles that are not aligned closely with any other country or group of countries.
Quite necessarily, this would also entail adjustments on the domestic policy, especially on the economic side.
Historically, nations which are fiercely pursuing independent foreign policies are also equally in-ward looking and self-reliant when it comes to their economies.
They have usually strong or sound domestic industrial base.
And so we agree with and support a proposal by a very discerning leader of the Senate in pursuit of such policy adjustment.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto is supporting the country's "pivot" to a wider global market in sourcing military material, but reminded Malacañang not to bypass local industries which can provide parts or whole of the defense equipment being sought.
Recto said President Duterte's home province of Cebu can even build coastal patrol ships.
"As a son of Cebu and especially Davao, the President should be the first to recognize the ingenuity of our local craftsmen," Recto said, referring to the city famous for gunsmiths. "This is not to say that we buy guns from them, but this is just to cite their resourcefulness."
He said the country's car manufacturing industry can supply military and police vehicles, "foreclosing the need to buy them abroad."
"There are also firearms factories in the country, some of which were licensees of world's leading gun makers," Recto added.
"While many equipment, like planes, can only be bought abroad, I think those which can be locally built should be given preference, and if some components can be manufactured here, we should insist that it should be," he said.
The province of Cebu, according to Recto, can help the Department of Transportation develop "affordable but cutting edge technology" for building patrol boats of the Philippine Coast Guard.
"If we are also looking for boats that will be used by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for their research and conservation programs, these can also be built in Cebu," Recto said.
"We have a world-class shipbuilding industry in Cebu, but our government agencies have yet to harness its potential as a major source of military and civilian boats," said Recto, who is one of the authors of the AFP Modernization Act (RA 10349) and the principal sponsor of the Domestic Shipping Act (RA 9295).
Indeed, if we build them or make them, why don’t we buy them?