Marcos asserts independent foreign policy on Independence Day

Marcos asserts independent foreign policy on Independence Day

/ 08:50 AM June 13, 2024

Marcos asserts independent foreign policy on Independence Day

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. during the Parada ng Kalayaan 2024 in celebration of the 126th anniversary of the Philippines’ independence, June 12, 2024. | PHOTO: Official Facebook page of Bongbong Marcos

MANILA, Philippines — Amid “external threats” and escalating tension with China over the West Philippine Sea, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday vowed to continue pursuing an independent foreign policy anchored on peace and the Philippines’ national interests.

In his remarks before making a toast at the Independence Day vin d’honneur in Malacañang, the President also said that the country would uphold the rule of law and rules-based international order in the middle of evolving geopolitical challenges across the globe.


READ: PH needs to brace for external threats – Marcos


“Our foreign policy is grounded on the continuing promotion and work for peace and the continuing promotion and work for our national interest,” he said.

“On the global stage, we have taken positions in support of the rule of law and of the rules-based international order, grounded on the principles laid out in the United Nations charter and multilateral conventions,” Mr. Marcos said.

The President and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos hosted the Independence Day reception for top government officials and foreign diplomats in celebration of the 126th anniversary of the Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spain.

The President said the vin d’honneur was more than just a commemoration of the birth of the first republic in Asia.

He said it was a “strong affirmation” of the duty of all Filipinos to “safeguard what our forefathers have fought and died for so that we may carry on our sacrosanct mandate to protect our country and to defend everything that is rightfully ours from those who will try to cross the red lines.”

Mr. Marcos said the Philippines, among other things, will continue to chart an independent foreign policy by pursuing international engagements “that seek to strengthen existing alliances and build new partnerships with like-minded states.”


Pivot to Washington

His remarks were a veiled message to China and other critics who say that his administration’s pivot to Washington—in contrast to his predecessor’s leanings toward Beijing—shows that the Philippines was a “vassal” of the United States and was being manipulated by the Americans to stir up trouble in the South China Sea.

The President did not directly refer to the maritime row with China in the strategic waterway but his remarks came in the wake of his recent directive to the military to beef up its capacity to fight “external threats.”

Earlier this month, Marcos told foreign leaders at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that the Philippines will do “whatever it takes to protect our sovereign home” amid China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, waters within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

In Singapore, the President rejected China’s claim that the Philippines ruined regional peace by allowing other parties to be involved in the territorial dispute, as he stressed that Manila’s claim to the West Philippine Sea is based on international law, not “imagination.”

Vatican envoy’s call

In his own message to celebrate Philippine Independence Day, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown said nations should engage in “patient, serious dialogue” that respects international law and diversity in order to resolve and avoid the “catastrophe” of escalated polarization and conflict in geopolitics.

The Papal Nuncio acts as the Holy See’s representative to the Philippines and also serves as dean of the diplomatic corps in the country.

Brown cited the Philippines’ success in the Bangsamoro peace process as an example of how to deal with geopolitical tensions.

“If we want to make a world of safety and prosperity for our children, the way forward for all of us is the same path that has brought the hope of peace to the people of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. And that is the path of dialogue,” Brown said.

“Engaging with others, and particularly those with whom we profoundly disagree, is the surest way of avoiding the catastrophe of escalation,” he said.

Among the diplomats present were China’s Ambassador Huang Xilian and Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov.

In addition to its maritime conflict with the Philippines and several other Southeast Asian nations, China is also growing increasingly belligerent toward self-ruled Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory. It has not disavowed the use of arms to retake the island. Russia, on the other hand, had met sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Soldiers, farmers, teachers

Addressing the nation in a separate statement, Marcos praised the “tenacity” of Filipino soldiers in protecting the country’s territory, the “resilience” of farmers and fisherfolk in feeding the people and the “dedication” of teachers who nurture the minds of future generations.

He called on Filipinos to strengthen their courage, unity and cooperation amid new challenges, noting that “while the times may be different, our struggles remain the same.”

“As those who inherited the freedom that we enjoy today, it is our duty to protect it and ensure that we will never succumb to threats, invasion and oppression,” Marcos said.

“Let us be heroes in our modern times, in our own way. Let us use our intelligence and hard work in our tasks but remain humble, patriotic and honorable at all times.”

Luneta address

In his speech at the Parada ng Kalayaan event at Rizal Park, Marcos urged Filipinos to show the world that a nation’s real power rested not on its wealth or size, but in the guts of a united people, driven by love for country, who fight for what is right.

“Our forefathers never backed down from battles, which is why we would never turn our backs on the duty in the fight for our domain,” the President said. “We will stay strong and we will never yield.”

But he left a warning: “Freedom is nurtured, protected and fought for; once we tend to neglect it, it may be lost and taken away from us all over again.”

‘Bagong Pilipinas’

In the morning, Marcos led the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites at the Rizal Monument attended by government officials and foreign diplomats.

He was accompanied by his wife and two of their three sons, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos and William Vincent Marcos.

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The morning rites at Rizal Park also marked the first time that the Bagong Pilipinas hymn and pledge were included in the program of a major public celebration after MalacaÑang ordered its inclusion in the Monday flag-raising ceremonies of government agencies under the executive branch. —with a report from Melvin Gascon

TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Malacañang, Philippine Independence Day

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