MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is charting an independent foreign policy where the country is a “friend to all and an enemy to none”.
“With respect to our place in the community of nations, the Philippines shall continue to be a friend to all. And an enemy to none,” the chief executive said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
“We will be a good neighbor — always looking for ways to collaborate and cooperate with the end goal of mutually beneficial outcomes,” he added.
Marcos reaffirmed that his administration would aggressively promote “strong and more multifaceted” relationships but assured that his foreign policy would be based only on the country’s national interest.
“If we agree, we will cooperate and work together. If we differ, we will talk more until we agree,” he said.
“But we will not waver, we will stand firm in our independent foreign policy, with the national interest as our primordial guide. We commit to maintaining good relations with the rest of the world,” he added.
Diplomats and foreign government officials earlier met Marcos to discuss possible cooperation between the Philippines and their respective states.
In those meetings, the chief executive tagged the following areas of cooperation as priorities: clean energy, agriculture, economy, trade, defense, pharmaceuticals, education, culture, and addressing climate change.
“We are, in fact, grateful for the messages of support and offers of help that we have received from many of our friends in the international community, as communicated through their Envoys and Ambassadors in the Philippines. Such strong relationship can only be beneficial to all involved,” Marcos said.
While pursuing this “friend to all, enemy to none” stance, Marcos assured that the government would not surrender even a square inch of the country’s territory, referring to Manila’s ongoing territorial dispute with other littoral states over the South China Sea.
“(The country will) not preside over any process that will abandon even a square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” he said.
During his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi early this month, Marcos indicated his desire to find a “friendly solution” to the maritime row while maximizing engagements where the two nations could cooperate.
On top of this, the administration issued a clear position on the 2016 arbitral ruling, affirming that it will use the award as an anchor to its actions on the West Philippine Sea.
Marcos foreign affairs chief Enrique Manalo, in a July 12 statement, said that the “Award is final” and Manila “firmly rejects attempts to undermine it; nay, even erase it from law, history and our collective memories.” (PNA)