Yasay: America has failed us
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - October 6, 2016 - 11:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines' top diplomat defended the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to realign the country's foreign policy towards an independent track.

"America has failed us. This is at the core message of [Duterte] to the American people and the world," Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said in a statement originally posted on his personal Facebook page, which was then shared on the Department of Foreign Affairs' website.

Yasay noted that the Philippines breaking away from the United States addresses both internal and external security threats.

The Foreign Affairs chief cited the "invisible chains" that reined the country toward dependency and submission to the US as their "little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom" even after the recognition of independence on July 4, 1946.

The Philippines' defensive forces remain incapable of addressing security threats amid the maritime dispute in the South China Sea despite its alliance with the US, Yasay said.

"Worse is that our only ally could not give us the assurance that in taking a hard line towards the enforcement of our sovereignty rights under international law, it will promptly come to our defense under our existing military treaty and agreements," the Foreign Affairs chief said.

Duterte earlier expressed his intention to end the annual joint military exercises of the Philippines with the US.

Yasay stressed that the president is trying to liberate the country from the "carrot and stick" policy of the US toward the Philippines which forced Filipinos to submit to American interests.

"We will never allow China or any other nation to bully us or deal with Philippine interests under another carrot and stick policy," Yasay said.

The secretary, however, admitted that the government has serious concerns and challenges in engaging the Chinese to hold bilateral talks to settle the sea dispute in accordance to international law.

"Our past mistakes in fostering and strengthening our friendship with our white big brother will be instructive for this purpose," Yasay said.

Duterte earlier warned that the Philippines may break its ties with the US. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the president only made the statement in a desire to "express the independence of the Philippines."

"It's not a definite yes, it's not a definite no. He said he might," Abella said in a press briefing when asked what the president meant when he mentioned cutting ties with the US.

RELATED: White House: Duterte's comments at odds with US-PH ties | Palace: Use 'creative imagination' to interpret Duterte remarks

Some foreign policy analysts, however, are concerned over the administration's tack in engaging the global community.

Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase-Albert Del Rosario Institute for Strategic and International Studies, said that a drastic foreign policy shift can be deemed insincere.

"By taking such drastic steps, the administration gives the impression of swinging wildly and insincerely instead of taking smaller, but more meaningful steps toward friendly relations. Part of why such steps give the impression of insincerity is that they do not fit into the aforementioned principles for foreign policy," Manhit wrote on Philstar.com.

He suggests a calibration marked by careful pronouncements that will be meaningful not only to China but to all of the Philippines' longstanding partners.

"Such care will help the president and his team achieve the Philippines’ foreign policy objectives," he said.

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