A former senator and diplomat has an unsolicited advice for President Rodrigo Duterte in the wake of his recent remarks against old ally the United States and friendly overtures towards Russia and China.
"We don't need to make enemies to make new friends and that is the art of diplomacy. So I think our President if I may have to say so has to take a beginner's course in diplomacy," said former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani.
Duterte has announced that he was setting his eyes on Russia and China as allies and trading partners after the US, the European Union and the United Nations expressed concern over the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to his anti-drug campaign.
On Thursday, he dared the US, UN and EU to take their economic aid elsewhere.
Duterte said that the international community would never understand the depth of the drug problem in the Philippines.
"I do not expect human rights, I do not expect Obama, I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me. And if you think it's high time for you to withdraw assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it," Duterte said, partly in response to Vice President Leni Robredo's earlier statement saying his rhetoric may affect foreign aid for anti-poverty programs of the government.
“Ano’ng paningin n’yo sa amin? How do you look at us? Mendicants? Na magsige lang sunod-sunod kami?” he added. “We will survive. We will survive as a nation.”
Shahani, before being elected to the Senate in 1987, was ambassador to Australia from the 1981 to 1986. She was also secretary general of the World Conference on the United Nations Decade of Women in Kenya in 1986.
She left her UN post and returned to the Philippines to become the Deputy Minister for Philippine Affairs after 1986 EDSA Revolution.
Shahani was a chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations during her term.
She is the sister of one of Duterte's allies former President Fidel Ramos. —NB, GMA News