Está en la página 1de 3

 (http://appfi.

ph

Commentaries
Understanding President Duterte’s ‘Independent Foreign
Policy’
Mico A. Galang, 17 April 2017

Photo from Philippine Presidential Communications Operations O坠�ce (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:President_Rodrigo_Duterte_speech_070116.jpg)

Article II, section VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution (http://www.lawphil.net/consti/cons1987.html) provides: “The State shall pursue an
independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity,
national interest, and the right to self-determination.” In practice, successive Philippine presidents rarely labeled Philippine foreign policy as
“independent,” albeit occasionally mentioning the term as part of their rhetoric.

In a stark departure from his predecessors, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly declared (http://www.rappler.com/nation/145759-
duterte-philippines-independent-foreign-policy) that his administration “will pursue an independent foreign policy.” As to what an
“independent foreign policy” means became the subject of various discussions (http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/146873-
independent-foreign-policy-philippines-duterte). For their part, senior government o坠�cials have provided rather broad principles
(http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/09/10/dfa-secretary-perfecto-yasay-independent-foreign-policy-mandated-by-constitution.html) as to
how such a policy would take shape. However, in a televised interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_I2RPbxbcQ&t=21s) last 3 April
2017, the new Philippine top diplomat to China, Ambassador Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, provided a more detailed account of the
elements of Duterte’s independent foreign policy and how it would ��gure in the broader strategic environment. It is thus far the most
thorough explanation of an independent foreign policy to come from a Duterte administration o坠�cial.

Ambassador Sta. Romana noted that the larger context of Philippine foreign policy is the emerging power shift in the Asia-Paci��c region.
“[W]hat we are seeing right now,” Sta. Romana argued, “is the rise of a power in Asia and we are seeing the decline of the dominant power that
used to dominate the region since the end of World War II.” Having lived and worked in Beijing for many years as a journalist
(http://globalnation.inquirer.net/146206/beijing-based-journalist-chito-sta-romana-is-new-ph-envoy-to-china), Sta. Romana witnessed China’s
transformation from poor country into a “major regional power.” But as China acquires economic and military prowess, its neighbors have felt
Beijing’s rise as it seeks to expand power and inꅉ�uence in the region, particularly in the SCS.

It is in this strategic milieu that Sta. Romana identi��ed the three major tenets of President Duterte’s independent foreign policy. First, in an
apparent reference to one of the President’s speeches during his state visit to China (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-philippines-
idUSKCN12K0AS), the “separat[ion] [of Philippine] foreign policy from the US.” Sta. Romana pointed out that it “does not mean that we totally
cut o� from the US.” Rather, it means lessening Manila’s dependence on Washington while maintaining “historic alliance” with America.
Second, the “improvement of relations with China.” Emphasizing that this does not mean that the Philippines should shift to an alliance with
China, the Ambassador argued that strengthening ties with Beijing would focus on economic cooperation while exploring ways of lowering
tensions over the two countries’ maritime disputes. Lastly, “the improvement of relations with non-traditional partners,” including Russia,
Japan, and India, while striving to “maintain the centrality of ASEAN.”

" Indeed. the Duterte government has not dismantled the legal foundations of the Philippine-US alliance: the Mutual Defense Treaty (http://www.eastwestcenter. the goal is not to immediately solve but to manage the situation in order to prevent incidents that may spiral into a major crisis.philstar. Moreover.rsis.rappler. Romana argued that the Philippines must be "realistic that some things need time to solve. Duterte's overtures to Moscow (http://thediplomat. Arguably.ph/publications/presentations) Speeches (http://app��.pdf). Indeed. Sta. Duterte said that he is open to joint patrols and exercises (http://www.tandfonline.ph/publications/speeches) .1132714?journalCode=cjcc20) hedging as “an insurance-seeking behavior under high-stakes and high-uncertainty situations. it is apparent that the Duterte government appears to be pursuing a hedging strategy.go.co.1080/10670564. The academic Cheng-Chwee Kuik de��ned (http://www. Romana admitted: "Forging an independent foreign policy will not be an easy task. Romana stressed.japantimes. is ��nding a “geopolitical sweet spot”—i. the goal is not to immediately solve but to manage the situation in order to prevent incidents that may spiral into a major crisis.com/2017/01/the-growing-russia-philippines- partnership/) could be seen as part of broader attempt in diversifying security relationships.jp/news/2017/01/12/national/politics-diplomacy/abe-meets-duterte-economy-china/) in less than a year. would allow increased rotational presence of US forces in the country.com/headlines/2016/07/03/1599050/duterte-continue-afp-modernization-program) of the government.academia." Rather.com/philippines/the-philippine- star/20161108/281745563954485).sg/wp-content/uploads/rsis-pubs/WP241.ph/1951/08/30/mutual-defense-treaty-between-the-republic-of-the-philippines-and-the-united-states-of-america-august-30- 1951/) and the Visiting Forces Agreement> (https://www. where a sovereign actor pursues a bundle of opposite and deliberately ambiguous policies vis-à- vis competing powers to prepare a fallback position should circumstances change.ph/publications/newsletter) Commentaries (http://app��.html) between Manila and Tokyo. despite Duterte’s announcement that he intends to expel foreign troops in the Philippines within two years. Galang is a researcher at the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP). calming down tensions is accomplished using "bilateral quiet diplomacy. Ambassador Sta. especially in the South China Sea (SCS). More importantly. the Philippines adopted hedging as the central blueprint (https://www. which. Sta. Romana argued. “you have to combine engagement with deterrence.org/system/tdf/private/PS016. To achieve this end. To achieve this end. the Balikatan Exercises will proceed (http://www.2015. the Philippines has supported multilateral e�orts (http://www.gov/documents/organization/107852. Duterte has sent an unmistakable signal that he intends to further enhance the strategic partnership (http://www. calming down tensions is accomplished using "bilateral quiet diplomacy.Duterte’s foreign policy is forged against the backdrop of a complex international environment where unambiguous alignment or identi��cation with one power is a luxury which most states can no longer a�ord. Malacañang authorized the construction of facilities (http://www.pdf) by its chief foreign policy architects beginning with President Fidel V.com:8080/headlines/2017/03/16/1681874/dfa-mum-inclusion-tribunal- ruling-code-conduct-talks) in negotiating a binding Code of Conduct (COC) in the SCS between China and ASEAN. among others.com/doi/abs/10. In addition. the contentious geopolitical issues must be "de-couple[d]" from non-contentious areas such as economic cooperation and people-to- people ties." Because of the complex nature of the SCS dispute.state. With respect to China.com/nation/150521-philippines-president-duterte-open-joint-maritime-exercises- japan) in the SCS with Tokyo.” From a broader perspective. Sta.pdf?��le=1&type=node&id=32053) since the end of the Cold War. Aside from receiving assistance from Japan in improving the Philippines' maritime capabilities (http://www. Ambassador Sta." Because of the complex nature of the SCS dispute.” The objective of this approach is to “acquire as many returns from di�erent powers as possible…while simultaneously seeking to o�set longer-term risks….mofa. although with some modi��cations.gov.pressreader. the contentious geopolitical issues must be "de-couple[d]" from non-contentious areas such as economic cooperation and people-to- people ties." Thus. Alongside the military modernization program (http://www. Romana argued that the Philippines must be "realistic that some things need time to solve. Meeting his Japanese counterpart thrice< (http://www. “a middle ground between the US and China so that we can maximize our national interests. Mico A.philstar. Romana stressed that the key to lowering tensions in the SCS is not the use of "mega phone diplomacy. Like most Southeast Asian nations (http://www.com/nation/159611-edca-american-facilities-philippines-bases) under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. implementing such a foreign policy—anchored on a hedging approach—requires the necessary skill and foresight in balancing competing domestic and foreign interests in an unpredictable regional security environment. In an era of major power rivalry.jp/s_sa/sea2/ph/page4e_000280." Thus. Mindful of the immense power disparity between China and the Philippines.e. Sta." Largely abandoned by the previous Benigno Aquino government (https://www. Sta. notwithstanding the President's statements to the contrary.ph/publications/commentaries) Presentations (http://app��. Romana stressed that the key to lowering tensions in the SCS is not the use of "mega phone diplomacy. hedging now appears to guide the foreign policy of the present administration.edu.rappler. The views expressed are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reꅉ�ect the o坠�cial position of NDCP. as the current chair of ASEAN. the third plank of the independent foreign policy is part of this objective of o�setting risks.ph foreign policy. Ramos.com/2017/04/us-china-and-dutertes-independent-foreign-policy/) . maintaining the Manila-Washington alliance is the Philippines's attempt to o�set long-term risks—a major objective of hedging. This article is based on the author’s piece earlier published by The Diplomat (http://thediplomat.rappler." Rather.com/nation/150606-list-deals-duterte-japan-visit).edu/26798362/Twenty- First_Century_Philippines_Policy_Toward_an_Emergent_China_From_Equi-Balancing_to_Strategic_Balancing). Mindful of the immense power disparity between China and the Philippines. In fact. the strategic objective of an independent (http://appfi." Moving forward. Publications Newsletter (http://app��.

 (http://appfi.ph .