Says PH needs 'interdependent foreign policy'
MANILA – Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Tuesday advised President Rodrigo Duterte to tweak his foreign policy, saying cutting ties with the Philippines’ traditional allies and partners may not be in the best interest of the country.
In seeking to distance the Philippines from the US and its Western allies, Duterte has insisted that he will pursue an “independent foreign policy.”
Duterte in recent days has been lashing out at the US and European Union for their criticisms of his war on drugs, saying the Philippines can live without aid from these countries and regional entities.
Duterte said he will instead seek to strengthen trade alliances with China and Russia.
But Ramos said Duterte’s decisions may not be helpful, especially now that the world is so interconnected.
“What we need is an interdependent foreign policy… So I hope the leaders of our country would recognize this. There are only a few countries now that are truly independent of their neighbors... There is not one that I know of that is rich enough that can isolate itself from the region,” Ramos said.
Ramos said, it saddens him to see the Philippines appearing to cut ties with its allies, warning that it may be hard to patch things up.
“This is where I feel sad in certain situations because it is as if we are cutting our bridges behind us and we may not get back there anymore,” he said.
“It is as if this administration is saying goodbye to some of the solid partnerships we have made in the past.”
Ramos also admonished Duterte for always bringing up atrocities committed by the US against the Philippines, its former colony. For Ramos, this is “20th century thinking.
“I am sorry to tell this, President Duterte, my president, our president. That is 20th century thinking. We are now in the 21st century. We look forward to a better world that our young people aspire for,” Ramos said.
“Of course Bud Dajo happened, various massacres took place, and also Maguindanao massacre in which we are not yet able to bring culprits to justice... That must not be the mentality of our leaders these days...let us, as it says in the Bible, lead people to the promised land.”