New DFA Sec. Cayetano won’t use ‘microphone diplomacy’
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said he will not use “microphone diplomacy” when he is officially appointed foreign affairs secretary.
Cayetano, who met with Filipino journalists covering the World Economic Forum on Asean when he arrived in Cambodia from Switzerland, said he was a bit surprised that Duterte had already signed his nomination papers.
Duterte announced that he already nominated his former running mate before he left for Cambodia.
“Let me assure all of you that we will do our best to represent our country, to serve God and people,” Cayetano said, adding that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will work as one group to “implement the foreign policy of the Philippines.”
He said a bigger challenge for him is to “not engage in microphone diplomacy” or to issue too many public statements as opposed to discussing issues in private.
Cayetano said implementing strategies should not result in “microphone diplomacy” because it is different from deliberately criticizing another country.
“So there’s a lot of things about diplomacy that you cannot use the microphone,” he said, adding that media will hear more from the agency’s spokesperson instead of him.
He also said he would want to “institutionalize more briefings that are off the record to the media, to the Senate, to the House and to other interested groups, including think tanks.”
He said that would allow certain groups to be in the know without publicizing the government’s strategies.
However, Cayetano clarified that he plans to wait for his confirmation as secretary by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
“So instead of being an acting Secretary or waiting for the session to end, we’re submitting the nomination or Malacañang is submitting the nomination to the CA,” he said. “So until that time, I’ll still serving be in the Senate.”
He said he was thankful to Senator Ping Lacson who suggested that the CA confirm him “by acclamation” since he is a sitting member of the Senate and the CA.
Cayetano denied hearing criticisms against his appointment, especially those from people who wanted a career diplomat to man the post.
He simply said that the foreign affairs secretary position is usually filled up by a political appointee. IDL/rga
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