MANILA - It's been shrugged off as a joke.
President Rodrigo Duterte's comment about leaving the United Nations on Sunday was later clarified by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. as an expression of disappointment with the organization.
This, after UN experts called out the Philippines on the rising death toll in Duterte's war on drugs.
Duterte on Tuesday said in an interview that his "threat" to leave the UN was just a joke.
Analysts said this has been Duterte's habit.
"Simula noong eleksyon hanggang ngayon, meron siyang mga nabibitawang salita na binabawi niya rin o binabawi ng mga tao niya after some time," said political analyst Dr. Jean Franco.
(Ever since the campaign period, Duterte says something that he later retracts.)
She added: "Sana mas ma-managa nang husto 'yung mga press conferences niya para mas maging klaro yung mga gusto niyang sabihin sa mga tao at sa international community.
(I hope Duterte becomes clearer about his statements for the sake of the people and the international community.)
"Puwede naman nating gawing...nandoon pa rin yung boses ng Pangulong Duterte, pero in such a way na hindi magiging vague o ambiguous yung kanyang mga mensahe."
(It can be done that the President retains his own voice in his messages without being vague and ambiguous.)
READ: Duterte says UN, critics can’t stop war on drugs
But what if the Philippines indeed exited from the organization, of which it was a founding member? It would be unprecedented, local political analysts said, even as Indonesia threatened but failed to do the same in the 1960s.
Franco and Richard Heydarian, professors at University of the Philippines and De La Salle University, respectively, shared their thoughts on what could happen if the Philippines were to exit the UN.
Franco: "Maraming mawawala sa atin... Pag hindi ka member ng United Nations, parang ma-o-ostracize ka sa international community. Ang United Nations ay isa sa pinaka importanteng institusyon na binuo ng mga bansa after World War 2, doon naka base ang sinasabi nating existing world order."
(We have a lot to lose. If one is not a member of the UN, said country will be ostracized by the international community. The UN is the most important institution in the country, which was founded after World War II. The existing world order is based on the UN.)
Heydarian: "'Yung United Nations ay ultimate gathering ng mga bansa around the world, at kung kasama ka sa United Nations, marami kang benepisyong makukuha."
(The UN is the ultimate gathering of countries around the world. And if one is a member of the UN, that country stands to receive a lot of benefits.)
Heydarian: "Kung lumabas tayo sa United Nations, paano 'yung passport natin? Paano tayo pupunta sa ibang bansa? Parang stateless state na tayo, dahil hindi na tayo niri-recognize ng United Nations. Unang-una, yung ating right to travel to other countries ay maaapektuhan."
(If the Philippines were to exit UN, what will happen to Philippine passports? How can Filipinos travel abroad? It is as if we are stateless because we are no longer recognized by the United Nations. First of all, our right to travel to other countries will be affected.)
Heydarian: "I would say the business climate will also suffer significantly. Magkakaroon ng ripple effects. That will have an impact on foreign direct investments, stock markets, business confidence sa ating bansa. It could actually do significant damage sa ating ekonomiya. Talagang maraming taong mawawalan ng trabaho, mawawalan oportunidad na magkaroon ng mas komportableng buhay."
(I would say the business climate will also suffer significantly. There will be ripple effects. That will have an impact on foreign direct investments, stock markets, business confidence on our country. It could actually do significant damage to our economy. A number of people will lose jobs, losing the opportunity to have a better life.)
No chance vs China?
Franco: "'Yung pagkaka-lodge natin doon (complaint in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), based on the fact na member tayo ng United Nations."
(We filed out complaint against China based on the fact that we are a UN member-state.)
Heydarian: "Iyon nga yung ginamit natin para dalhin ang Tsina sa Hague, kung saan tayo nanalo... Para maprotektahan natin ang ating karapatan sa West Philippine Sea."
(We used our being a UN member-state in our win against China at The Hague in order to protect the West Philippine Sea.)
No access to UN programs, international aid
Heydarian: "Maalala natin 'pag panahon ng bagyo o natural disaster, ang United Nations ang pangunahing international organization na tumutulong sa mga bansang katulad natin para mag coordinate ng international aid."
(When there's a calamity, the UN is the primary international organization that helps countries like us to coordinate international aid.)
"For instance noong panahon ng Yolanda, nakita natin yung United Nations very proactively, nag-organize yan ng fundraising para matulungan tayo."
(For instance, we saw the UN actively raising funds for the Philippines.)
"Hindi na tayo magkakaroon ng access sa United Nations Development Program, hindi na tayo magkakaroon ng access sa iba't-ibang United Nations program na tumutulong sa atin para mag-cope sa disasters, with crisis, with conflict, among other things."
(We will no longer have access to the United Nations Development Program. We will no longer have access to various UN programs that help us to cope with disasters, crises, conflicts, among other things.)
Franco believes the Philippine government, amid Duterte's beef with "rude" UN rapporteurs, should continue welcoming efforts of the organization for the country's own betterment.
"Kaya nagsasalita ng ganito ang UN dahil kilala ang bansang Pilipinas na strong advocate of human rights sa international arena," she said. "'Yun din ang dahilan kung bakit ang United Nations is taking us to task... Parang kinakalabit tayo, 'Hoy, umayos kayo.'"
(The reason why the UN reacted is that the Philippines is a known strong advocate of human rights in the international arena. That is why the UN is taking us to task, as if telling us to shape up.)