MANILA - Malacañang said Tuesday the country won't lose much should it cut ties with Iceland, which filed a UN resolution that sought a thorough review of the Philippines' drug war.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement even as he admitted he was unfamiliar with aspects of the country’s relationship with the Nordic country.
“There are only about two thousand Filipinos there and, as far as we know, there are no trade relations between these two countries – except maybe on fish. ‘Di ba, fish ang kanilang main doon ‘di ba? We are not—hindi ako familiar doon. Tatanungin ko pa nga iyong ano eh, si Sec. Lopez,” Panelo said.
The statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte said he was considering cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland.
Panelo said it is "highly" unlikely, however, that Iceland would deport Filipino workers there if the Philippines should cut ties with the Nordic nation.
“Even if you cut ties with a particular country, if it benefits that country to be entering into a commercial agreement with one who cuts its ties, I don’t think they will sever that relationship. It’s only the diplomatic relations,” Panelo said.
The spokesperson denied Malacañang’s plan of severing ties with Iceland contradicts the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin earlier tweeted that the Philippines is not severing relations with any country.
“Wala namang contradiction doon. Ang sinasabi niya, ‘we are not severing…,’ eh wala pa naman eh, mulling over pa nga eh. So, where’s the contradiction?,” Panelo said.
He said the decision whether or not to continue diplomatic relations with the Nordic country depends on the President, who is the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy.