Duterte ‘recalibrating’ PH foreign policy—Dominguez
President Rodrigo Duterte is not changing but is just “recalibrating” the country’s foreign policy, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told a Senate hearing on Monday.
Dominguez issued this clarification during the hearing of the Senate committee on finance when its chair, Senator Loren Legarda, asked about the impact of any change in foreign policy under the new administration amid the President’s pronouncements that he would build next year new alliances with China and Russia.
“Will our changing foreign policy, assuming there is any change, also affect or change our diplomacy insofar as finance and economics is concerned?” Legarda asked.
“Meaning, it’s good to be tapping a big market for our goods which is China and even Russia and they also have money to be able to help us. So do we see a more robust economic, business relationship with our nation neighbor with whom there is a territorial dispute and possible market for our goods which is Russia farther away but which has been largely untapped?” she further asked.
Responding to the queries, Dominguez said: “I would not say the foreign policy is changing, I think it’s just being recalibrated so that were are more open to other markets.”
He noted, for instance, the President’s plan to call for a Constitutional Convention to open investment areas to more foreign participation with the exception of land ownership.
“The President has indicated to us that he’d like to strengthen and exploit opportunities, as you mentioned, in countries other than our traditional trading partners,” Dominguez said.
“So I think the recalibration of our President of his foreign policy will certainly open a lot of opportunities for us. And as you mentioned earlier, we’d like to take full advantage of those opportunities particularly like in the AIIB initiative,” he added, referring to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The Philippines’ membership in the AIIB has yet to get the approval of the Senate.
Duterte earlier promised to build more new alliances with other countries to cushion the fallout from the possible withdrawal of the United States from the Philippines.
“I am asking the Filipino in the coming days, if America will make good its threat, I’m going to ask you to sacrifice a little bit. But by next year, I would have entered into so many new alliances with so many countries,” the President has said. RAM/rga