DO you know that 12 years ago, former University of the East, College of Law Dean and now Social Security System Chairman Amado D. Valdez suggested that our government nurture closer, friendly and cooperative relationship with the People’s Republic of China? Chairman Valdez made the suggestion in July 2004, after the US State Department criticized former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s decision to withdraw the Filipino troops in Iraq and attacked her policy of building closer relationship with China.
If you recall on July 7, 2004, OFW Angelo De la Cruz, a 46-year-old truck driver in a Saudi company that works with the American military in Iraq, was kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group, Khaled bin-Al-Walid Brigade, near the Iraqi City of Fallujah, while he was transporting fuel to US military bases.
The terrorist group demanded the Philippine government to remove its troops from Iraq by July 20, one month ahead of their mandated exit on August 20, or De la Cruz would be executed.
A week after the abduction, President Arroyo decided to save the life of De la Cruz and ordered to bring our troops home and said she did not regret her decision.
The US protested her decision, saying giving in to terrorist demands should not be an option.
The government pulled all its soldiers out of Iraq and on July 20, the terrorists released De la Cruz.
Displeased with the President’s decision to withdraw Philippine troops, the US then assailed her thrust to establish closer economic and diplomatic relations with China.
Anent the President’s decision to save De la Cruz and not appease the US, Chairman Valdez said in an essay entitled “Courage in Statesmanship,” contained in his book, “PENSEES, Dean Amado Valdez”, a collection of his columns published in People’s Tonight in 2004:
“There is no question that Filipino interest was promoted by the President’s action. The life spared by her decision was symbolic of the present lives of present-day Filipino heroes. It brought relief and peace of mind to the millions of Filipino overseas and their families in the Philippines. I think that the action has generated a large dose of goodwill from Muslim community all over the world.”
With regard to PGMA’s rapprochement with China, Dean Valdez, a lecturer and bar reviewer in constitutional and international laws and former executive-director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM), said it’s wrong for the US to find fault in her policy to develop closer, friendly and cooperative relationship with the PROC.
He stated: “To ignore China is to ignore the biggest and most powerful nation in this part of the world, which could provide us business and trade opportunities. This early, China has already committed financial and technical support in the development of the railway system north of Manila.”
What I see in Dean Valdez’ aforequoted statement is his ability to predict our country’s beneficial, advantageous and profitable relationship with China.
His prudent advice not to ignore China, given two presidencies ahead of the present administration, is precisely the thrust of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who looks upon China as a trusted and generous friend, who could provide us great business and trade opportunities, necessary to effect change and development in our country, which the United States denied us since our independence in 1946.
President Duterte’s decision to terminate our country’s military exercises with the United States under the VFA and “separate” from our long time ally and establish economic and military ties with the PROC, was criticized anew by the US State Department, like how it criticized PGMA in July 2004.
But with the adoption of an independent foreign policy by President Duterte, geared at establishing closer economic and military ties with the wealthiest and most powerful nation in Asia, which may have been inspired by Dean Valdez, and which resulted to the successful state visit of our President to China, bringing $24 billion of investments and credit facilities from said country, our people’s deliverance from poverty may happen during his presidency.
Dean Valdez is indeed a worthy addition to the President’s men, who can properly assists him not only in making SSS responsive to the people, but advice him as well, in charting a respectable foreign policy for our nation.
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