At DFA budget hearing, Locsin appeals for more DND funds
MANILA, Philippines – Aside from the proposed 2020 budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Foreign Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr sought additional funds for another agency: the Department of National Defense (DND).
Locsin made the appeal on Thursday, September 12, as Senator Richard Gordon asked the top diplomat whether or not there were discussions to beef up the Philippines' military capabilities since the country is "certainly short on firepower."
"For so long as that is the case, it will all be words and some credibility has got to be taken to enhance our ability to follow what we say – we walk our talk," Gordon said.
Locsin agreed, saying more was needed not in foreign policy, but in improving the country's defense capabilities.
"Mr Chair, you're right. When people ask me, 'Is there anything more you need in foreign policy?', I say, 'No, don't look at me, augment the budget of the Department of National Defense.' While it's true nobody is looking for a military victory, we might be looking at the ability to hurt," Locsin said.
This is not surprising. Locsin has repeatedly said he would only rely on the military to take action on matters, including responding to Chinese actions in the West Philippine Sea.
For instance, the DFA filed diplomatic protests against Beijing upon the recommendation of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and military reports. The foreign secretary has also mentioned repeatedly in the past that he "only speaks to the military." (READ: Locsin: DFA has filed 60 diplomatic protests vs China since 2016)
In his speech to senators upon presenting the DFA's budget, Locsin reiterated a line he often mentions when describing his leadership style as foreign secretary: "In my watch foreign affairs is the hand, or if you will, the fist in the iron glove of the Armed Forces."
Meanwhile, Locsin gave assurances the DFA would prioritize enhancing national security, deepening bilateral ties with other countries, assisting overseas Filipino workers, improving consular services, and promoting the country's image.
The DFA's proposed total budget for 2020 amounts to P22.65 billion, some P2 million more than its 2019 budget of P20.5 billion. – Rappler.com