Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Senators warn Duterte on 'radical shift' in foreign policy

SOME senators have expressed concern on the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte during his state visit in China, where he announced the country's "separation" from military and economic ties with the United States (US).

"Yes, our relations with the United States may not be perfect. But a country which has illegally built a great wall of sand in our seas is not, and far from, the epitome of a good friend either," Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said.

He was referring to China and its alleged use of Philippines soil in building artificial islands in the contested Scarborough shoal.

Recto reminded Duterte that his decision to cut ties with US will ultimately affect many lives of Filipinos. The US, according to Recto, remains to be the biggest source of foreign exchange remittances.

"This is all the more true if the object of the President’s pique is not a backwater failed state, but a nation that is home to the largest number of Filipinos abroad, the biggest source of foreign exchange remittances," the senator said.

Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said cutting ties with the US is a clear indication that Duterte is really a "communist."

"If he thinks like a communist, talks like a communist, frees the communists, and appoints the communists, then he must be a communist.” Trillanes said.

Senator Leila de Lima for her part described the pronouncement of Duterte as a clear "betrayal" especially that his new foreign policy direction was announced in front of foreigners.

“What does separation from the US, both in military and economics, mean and what are its consequences to our national interest? Are we really completely abrogating our 70-year-old alliances with America? What will be the impact of this separation particularly in terms of trade and investment,” de Lima said.

Saying it was an "earth-shaking overhaul," de Lima said the pronouncement of Duterte is a "material concealment" from the Filipino people.

“Obviously, this is not what they signed up for when they cast their vote last May 2016, if we go by the huge disparity between the trust rating that the US garnered vs. China, where Filipinos themselves said that they trust the US most and China least. And with good reason.” De Lima said.

De Lima also said that Duterte has already a "strong delusional views of himself" as strong man at the level of China and Russia.

“It is saddening, frightening and highly incensing that this President does not have a true servant-leader’s capacity to put the interests of the people ahead of his own bitterness,” she said.

Senator Richard Gordon also said this move of Duterte to cut ties with the US is wrong.

“I don’t agree with that. I think the President is wrong on that matter.” Gordon said. (Sunnex)
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