Two veteran diplomats and an economist lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s “pragmatic” independent foreign policy, saying it earned the Philippines more allies.
Former ambassadors Jose Romero and Alberto Encomienda and economist George Siy of Integrated Development Studies Institute (IDSI) on Wednesday said Duterte’s foreign policy reform was beneficial to the Philippines’ long-term economic and national security interests.
At the “Pandesal Forum” in Quezon City, the three analysts agreed that by gaining allies in China and Russia, Duterte made the Philippines an ally of the world’s major powers.
“The country is now friend of all the world’s major powers,” Romero said.
He said the normalization of diplomatic ties and direct negotiations with China boosted trade and economic and tourism exchanges.
Encomienda said Duterte’s diplomatic maneuver helped stabilize the Asian region and minimized tensions.
“Like all our Asean neighbors and even Western countries from Germany to Canada, the normalization of bilateral ties can make the Philippines also benefit from joining the trillion-dollar infrastructure plans of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its new Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB),” he said.
Sy meanwhile said the Philippines’ new independent foreign policy is a boon to the economy “due to our gaining more trading partners, more sources of aid and loans.”
“Instead of just relying on only one supplier for military equipment and technologies, the world’s second biggest arms exporter Russia has offered to be an additional source,” he explained.
“The Philippines’ ties with the US and Japan is forecast to be stronger. Under the friendlier President Donald Trump, the US is forecast to have strong diplomatic and strategic ties with the Philippines, while Japan has also given unprecedented economic support to the Duterte administration. Trump is confirmed to visit the Philippines in November, while China Premier Li Keqiang is also confirmed to visit for the same period,” Siy said.