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Makabayan solons laud Duterte for breaking up with US

/ 04:50 PM October 21, 2016
Carlos Zarate

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate (INQUIRER PHOTO)

Makabayan lawmakers have lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for his declaration of independence from the United States while shifting the country’s alliance to major global players China and Russia.

In a statement on Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate lauded Duterte for tracking a more independent foreign policy and breaking away from the neocolonial control of the US over the Philippines.

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READ: Duterte announces military, economic split with US

Zarate said the treaties and agreements with the United States, the latest of which is the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), were all to the advantage of the US at the expense of the Philippines.

“The treaties and agreements that were forced upon the Philippines by the US since the Bell-Trade Act to the Edca have all been onerous and to their utmost advantage. But as it is, this is really an unprecedented move and gives more substance to a truly independent foreign policy,” Zarate said.

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Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago for her part lauded Duterte for taking the leap to pry open Washington’s hold over the Philippines.

“President Duterte’s breakup pronouncement must be welcomed with great admiration, as he is the first president to finally muster enough courage to part from Washington’s claws. It further stokes the patriotic spirit of the Filipino people,” Elago said.

Elago said it’s about time the Philippines breaks away from the “lopsided” agreements with the United States since the US granted freedom to its former colony.

“We continue to support President Duterte’s independent foreign policy declarations, especially his marked break from the lopsided alliance with the United States that has for over 70 years left the country in path towards planned obsolescence,” Elago said.

Elago however warned Duterte against the neoliberal policies of China that would not favor the Philippines, and urged the President to maintain the country’s maritime claim over the West Philippine Sea.

“Relating with China must not mean surrendering our claim to the West Philippine Sea. Relating with China must not also mean accepting new neoliberal dictates through entering the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is essentially a China-led free trade agreement,” Elago said.

“We urge President Duterte to pursue relations with China and other nations as well that will not bind us to another set of lopsided deals. Of utmost importance is the consideration of our territorial integrity and national sovereignty. We should pursue relations with China, but this should not hinder us from pursuing, first and foremost, our rightful claim to the West Philippine Sea,” Elago added.

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The youth solon also cautioned against merely shifting alliances from one master to another.

“However, we cannot simply leave one bully to flee to the arms of another bully. While we can enter trade agreements with China, President Duterte must draw a clear line of demarcation: The Philippines should only accept partnerships that will be beneficial for the development of our domestic economy. In no instance should we forge alliances that will jeopardize our own internal policy and decision-making,” Elago said.

In his vow to repair ties with China amid a maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea that favored the Philippines, Duterte declared a “separation” from the US in terms of military and economic ties. But he did not elaborate on this statement.

“Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States … both in military and economics also,” Duterte said.

Duterte earlier said he would realign with Russia and China instead, declaring that the three countries are “against the world.”

“I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world—China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” Duterte earlier said, amid a promise from China to give $9 billion in soft loans to the Philippines, part of $13.5 billion in deals signed during Duterte’s state visit./rga

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TAGS: Carlos Zarate, China, Makabayan, Rodrigo Duterte, Russia, Sarah Jane Elago, state visit, United States
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