Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Monday expressed confidence in new Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. and the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to make the most out of the arbitration ruling, and that it is time for the nation to unite behind them.
"I have confidence in him and in the government, in the leadership of President Duterte, and I think this is an opportunity for us to unite behind the government," he said on ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila.
This, after Philippines' victory over China in international court was met with a muted reaction from the country's top diplomat.
"I think that we should be magnanimous, and I think the posture that he took was alright by me because they had not had the chance to decide how they’re going to do this, what posture they will take," said Del Rosario.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea.
Del Rosario said, Yasay is undergoing a "baptism of fire," when two weeks in as the new foreign affairs chief, he is hit with this issue, where he has to "make sure that he knows everything before he says anything."
"These are challenges, but I think he will surmount and he will grow in the job," he said of Yasay.
Del Rosario also revealed receiving a call from Yasay before the latter departed for the regional summit in Mongolia.
"He said, ‘I wanted to call you before I left because I wanted to thank you for the role that you played in bringing this about,’" recalled del Rosario.
"I think he referred to the ruling as a 'gamechanger,' and he says, ‘I wanted to assure you that we will not waste this'," he added.