• In pursuit of development diplomacy

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    Part I: FOREIGN POLICY THRUSTS

    Foreign policy thrusts represent the crystallization of the people’s aspirations and expectations to advance domestic development effort and thereby contribute to increased global economic and social security.

    The major problem of the  country is poverty and thus, our first objective is to redress such poverty by achieving economic self–reliance so that we can truly exercise sovereignty and independence with dignity.

    Continuing and active participation in the UN and its agencies could generate two- fold benefit; as the bastion of world peace and security, international economic cooperation could flourish. The Philippines could maximize the availment of a stream of technical, financial and other forms of assistance that the UN agencies (there are about 21 specialized UN agencies) could offer to catalyze the national development effort.

    Philippine membership and participation in these programs, could result immensely to domestic development when reckoned in particular in terms of benefits from such extra regional activities as the regional leverage in negotiations with developed market partners.

    To reinforce our position in the North-South negotiations, particularly in the pursuit of the WTO issues to level the playing field in trade and commerce, the logical parallel initiative is closer association with the South and increased South-South cooperation to maximize programs from ECDC (Economic Cooperation among Development  Countries )and TCDC (Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries). I appreciate my participation in the formative years of the Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines as Alternate Chair from 1998-2002, which deals with ECDC/TCDC.

    The Law of the Sea, the world agreement covering maritime areas, represents a strategic benefit for the Philippines in view of the Philippine inspired and authored archipelagic principle. It likewise presents a vast economic opportunity for exploitation of rich fishery, energy and mineral resources in the exclusive economic zone. I believe that this principle of international law is the key to a peaceful solution to overlapping territorial claims in disputed area. It is to Philippine interest and the interest of world peace that the South China conflict be solved by the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    The famed Filipino hospitality makes Philippines an ideal center for international conference while the multifarious scenic spots, backstopped by  strong tourism industry, make the Philippines an attractive tourist destination. “ Yes, it is more fun in the Philippines”.

    While all these policy thrusts are substantially aimed at enhancing domestic development programs, the Philippines also recognizes its responsibility to forge a wholesome  climate for international cooperation, security, development and progress. The Philippines has launched several initiatives to achieve this goal. The Philippine initiative for continuing review of the UN mechanism with a view to strengthening its peace-keeping functions is essential to ensure a framework of peace and security for development. Balanced international news reporting and greater participation of women, youth and migrants workers in development are likewise advanced by the Philippines.

    The Philippines recognizes the dynamic nature of the world environment, its competitiveness, its inexorable tendency towards change. It is for this reason that one of the foreign policy thrusts calls for foreign policy innovations to keep the Philippines abreast with these developments.

    Development diplomacy in its total context which the Philippines now employs, gives emphasis to the promotion of the Philippine products through international marketing assistance to domestic exporters and entrepreneurs, to the promotion of the well-being and dignity of overseas Filipinos particularly those of OFW’s and to social inclusion for all and the realization of the impact of climate change on enovation. This new diplomatic program does not de-emphasize the political aspects but serves as a catalyst for accelerated economic growth.

    Our contemporary diplomatic offensives must therefore be sensitive to the requirements of the national development plan, particularly the policies, strategies and programs to achieve the stated goals of development. It would also include the targets on the basis of the comparative advantage of other countries carrying diplomatic relations with the country and the capability of international organizations to cooperate with developing countries. In many ways, diplomacy should be made as a critical tool for the implementation of development.

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