Duterte's DFA chief: PH 'should not be a lackey'
MANILA, Philippines – Incoming Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr vowed that the Philippines will not be subservient to any country under the administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
"We should not be a lackey of any nation," Yasay told Reuters in an interview Wednesday, June 1.
At the same time, Yasay said the Philippines’ friendship with the US, its former colonial ruler and most important military ally, will remain unchanged.
The incoming foreign secretary cited US President Barack Obama’s phone call to congratulate Duterte on May 17.
"That was a very strong indication about our friendship with America not being affected, and will not be affected by his election," Yasay said.
Yasay’s statement comes after Duterte on Tuesday, May 31, said he would not be fully reliant on the US.
'Independent foreign policy'
"We will be chartering a course of our own. It will not be dependent on America, and it will be a line not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest," Duterte said.
Clarifying Duterte’s statement, Yasay told Reuters, "He was simply articulating the position that, according to the Constitution, we are supposed to carry an independent foreign policy."
Duterte won the presidency at a time when the Philippines is anticipating an international tribunal’s ruling on a historic case over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The US has said China should stop raising tensions in the disputed waters.
China, for its part, has said it hopes the Philippines under Duterte will return to bilateral or one-on-one talks to resolve the dispute. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com