FULL TEXT: Ex-DFA Sec. Del Rosario’s closing remarks at 'Raising the Next Tiger' forum | Global News
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FULL TEXT: Ex-DFA Sec. Del Rosario’s closing remarks at ‘Raising the Next Tiger’ forum

/ 07:54 PM September 28, 2016
Albert del rosario

Former Secretary for Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario. AP FILE PHOTO

Former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario’s closing remarks at forum dubbed “Raising the Next Tiger: The New Administration’s Economic Policies” organized by ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies | September 28, 2016

It was my intention earlier not to be interviewed about foreign relations but there are journalists who are very persuasive… So I had given responses to quick questions.

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For fear of being taken out of context, I’ll give you my humble view on some of the questions asked.

It’s not my intention to be critical. My intention is to be helpful, to be constructive.

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That’s the posture I have taken.

But I think it was Carlos P. Romulo who said, the most useless thing in the world is a day-old newspaper, just as useless as the views of a retired SFA.

I think it really doesn’t matter what I think but I’m now a private citizen; I’m now entitled to give my views, especially if I think it may be constructive.

The questions that were asked me were, let me give it to you in different context, I was asked by foreign diplomatic community this particular question: Why is the Philippines distancing itself from its treaty ally who has worked specifically on promoting the rule of law, which is to the advantage of the Philippines, vis-a-vis why is the Philippines suddenly embracing a country that has been blatantly violating the rule of law to its disadvantage.

Difficult question to answer.

I like to think that the foreign affairs strategy may be driven off-track a bit and perhaps we can persuade this government to revisit the off-track direction that is driving the so-called new foreign policy.

Our foreign policy is driven by our democratic values. Therefore, our foreign policy must be principled, it must be independent, and it must be in accordance with the rule of law.

I was asked this yesterday and I think that this foreign policy of equating US vis-a-vis China should not be a zero-sum game.

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In foreign affairs, you try to get as many friends as possible.

You don’t get one friend at the expense of another friend. I think it’s illogical.

Playing a zero-sum game is illogical and I think we should get away from this.

But the foreign affairs department has been delivering the message that the policy that they’re seeking is in pursuit of an independent foreign policy.

I would like to question this in a humble, respectful way.

Our foreign policy is driven by our democratic values. Therefore, our foreign policy must be principled, it must be independent, and it must be in accordance with the rule of law.

What do we mean by a principled foreign policy? It must be anchored for it to be principled. It must be anchored on democracy, freedom, respect for human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

That’s what a principled foreign policy is all about. And when we speak of an independent foreign policy, what do we mean?

It has to be taken in the context of our foreign policy being principled, independent and according to the rule of law.

Our foreign policy is independent when first and foremost is the promotion of our national interest. National interest must be defined and promoted in accordance with our values.

Such that we stand up for what is right and we defend what is ours. And we have done this peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law.

To demonstrate how we have been able to adhere to this foreign policy which we had embarked on, we also refer to the fact that we have associated and identified ourselves with other countries who have embraced an international norm that is in accord with the rule of law.

We must revisit it because we’re here to speak about moving forward the economy.

But I think it’s been demonstrated that we can’t do this on our own.

We need to have friends, and we need to have friends in this village of nations we belong to.

What am I saying here? I’m saying that as anyone in government sat down to calculate the probable loss of economic benefits if we pursue the foreign policy that we are now pursuing in the name of independent foreign policy… In terms of our current arrangements, in the last three years alone, from 2012 to 2015, we had a development assistance that we were able to raise of over $4 billion. We would lose that.

We have foreign military finance from the United States of $140 million in 2016. These have conditionalities: when they go to US Congress, these have conditionalities. Respect for human rights is one conditionality. We would lose that.

The GSP, people who are traders, the GSP with the United States we utilize about $800 million of the GSP. We would lose that.

The GSP with EU, we will lose that.

I think that we are in a position now where we have to think about… I didn’t want to refer to the past administration at all. I just wanted to look at what it is that faces us moving forward.

But the question I want to ask is: what is the most important thing that the past administration had left the Filipino people?

What would your response be? Anybody?

National pride? Yes. Can I help.

Confidence. We have, confidence has been restored in our country.

An immense amount of confidence.

Let’s not lose it.

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TAGS: Albert Del Rosario, ambassador, Diplomat, Economy, foreign, Foreign affairs, Relations, ties
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