The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte did not implement an independent foreign policy but one that pivots to China, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Tuesday.
“I don’t think we do have an independent foreign policy. I think the President is pro-China so that is not an independent foreign policy as far as I am concerned. And then you see it in the body language and the words of the others in favor of China,” Recto said in an ANC interview.
While he clarifies that he is not anti-China, the senator explained that Duterte’s pro-China foreign policy would affect the next administration as the Asia powerhouse continues to assert its power over the West Philippine Sea.
“I am not against China. I want a good relations with our neighbors, right? But like I said, this problem will be inherited by the next administration as well and no one is talking about going to war with China. There are many things that we can do to assert our sovereignty. You don’t need to go war with China for that,” he said.
The lawmaker also disagreed with Duterte in saying that the Arbitral ruling which invalidated China's massive claims in the South China Sea, is a "useless piece of paper.”
Recto mentioned making use of the Philippines' alliance with other countries such as South Korea, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Britain, among others.
“You know China has been a little assertive and I think the entire globe sees that. The entire world sees that and that you will notice that alliances are being formed,” he said.
For the next administration, Recto said the welfare and protection of the fishermen in the West Philippine Sea should come first.
Alliances with other states and dialogue with China should also continue to assert Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.
“Everyone is concerned. Everyone in the world, in the region is concerned about China’s assertiveness in the West Philippine Sea,” he noted.
The Senate leader likewise said that there’s irony in Duterte’s policy against the Communist Party of the Philippines but maintains fondness towards Communist Party of China.
“It is ironic na galit na galit siya sa komunista dito, may red-tagging pero mahal na mahal naman n'ya ang Communist Party of China,” Recto said.
(It is ironic that he is very angry at the communists here, there’s even red-tagging, but he shows fondness towards the Communist party of China.)
“Magulo 'yan as far as I’m concerned. You have all the praises for Xi Jinping, the Communist Party of China, tapos galit na galit s'ya sa Communist Party of the Philippines. That is totally ironic,” he added.
(That is complicated as far as I’m concerned. You have all the praises for Xi Jinping, the Communist Party of China, then he is very angry at the Communist Party of the Philippines. That is totally ironic.)
During his sixth and last State of the Nation Address, Duterte claimed that his administration “rigorously pursued an independent policy.”
But in the latter part of his speech, Duterte reiterated that he cannot do something with the Arbitral Ruling that “does not bind China,” adding that this might result in war against the Asia powerhouse.—AOL, GMA News