‘Two faces’ of PH foreign policy hit
MANILA, Philippines — Militant lawmakers on Tuesday slammed the government’s supposed “hypocritical” foreign policy, saying its officials tended to lean toward positions most favorable to their vested interests.
At a press briefing, House members belonging to the Makabayan coalition said they would take the government to task for its “failed independent foreign policy” when President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
“Instead of riding a jet ski to plant the Philippine flag, President Duterte’s foreign policy now has the Chinese flag firmly planted, and has been viciously defending the occupation of China in the West Philippine Sea, in violation of our national sovereignty,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.
He said Makabayan lawmakers and civil society organizations would lead the traditional “people’s Sona” on Monday, which will reflect the true state of the country after three years of the Duterte presidency.
Accommodating to Chinese
According to Zarate, the country under President Duterte has displayed two faces of the supposed independent foreign policy, which its officials invoke to “suit their convenience.”
The Duterte administration has been very accommodating of Chinese interests, despite the threat to Philippine sovereignty, Zarate said.
On the other hand, officials invoke sovereignty when the United Nations attempts to probe the extrajudicial killings in the country.
“This is the current face of our foreign policy. If it is convenient, it would raise the sovereignty card in order to protect the misdeeds. When it is questioned over killings, they would say no one should interfere with our sovereignty,” he said.
Zarate was referring to the July 11 resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which sought to investigate the human rights situation in the Philippines.
Administration officials rejected the said investigation and threatened to pull out of the UNHRC.
“This government cannot escape liability for the extrajudicial killings that have happened in the country even if it will break off from the UNHRC,” ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said.
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago also slammed the administration’s rejection of the UNHRC investigation, saying its human rights mechanisms were not forms of foreign intervention but remedies to investigate human rights violations and to prosecute offenders.
“The Duterte administration’s aversion to human rights mechanisms this time proves all the more its guilt over extrajudicial killings and human rights violations,” she said.
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