Duterte elected as president, not diplomat, says Speaker

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2016 09:48 PM

MANILA - For House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, President Rodrigo Duterte has done well in the foreign policy front in the first 100 days of his administration.

However, the Speaker admitted Duterte prioritizes domestic policy over foreign policy, following his tirades which were aimed at various foreign leaders and institutions.

"Sinasabi nga ni President kahapon, you have elected a President, not a diplomat. Hindi naman siya tumakbong diplomat kundi President. Yung primary concern niya is our internal problems, hindi yung foreign problems. Ang problema natin yung illegal drugs, criminality, poverty. Wala namang tutulong sa atin, kailangan tayo-tayo i-solve natin ang mga problemang yan,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez also credited the chief executive for pursuing an independent foreign policy.

"So far naman, sa nakikita ko, maganda naman yung nagiging foreign policy ng Presidente. Bakit? Dahil pinapakita niya, pinaglalaban niya yung sovereignty ng nation, ng bansa. Whereas before, sunud-sunuran lang tayo sa mga western countries,” he said.

“You know, diplomacy is a matter of style of a leader. The past presidents had a different style for diplomacy and he too has a different style for diplomacy. Let's respect that."

NO FOREIGN AID? NO PROBLEM

Alvarez also no problems foregoing foreign assistance if these came with strings attached, especially if it's in relation to the policies of the President.

The Speaker said that it's up to foreign governments if they're going to give the aid or not, and conditions are unnecessary. He added that it's about time that Filipinos appreciate the country's sovereignty and avoid depending on foreign aid.

During his first 100 days, the President had given scathing remarks against the United States, United Nations, European Union, Germany and Israel for his statements on the war on drugs.

He has also drawn flak for cozying up to China and Russia, two countries perceived to be rivals of the western world. 

In a major departure from the Philippines’ traditional US policy, Duterte also said he wants joint exercises by Filipino and American soldiers to end in his term

Over the weekend, he announced that he is reviewing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which the Aquino administration signed with the US.