At the hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Lacson urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure humane treatment for Filipino workers and their children who are to be deported from Israel. “I have a piece of advice: Kindly remind them of (former President) Manuel Luis Quezon during the Holocaust and maybe they will be more humane in treating our Filipino children there.”
Sen. Lacson also sought more Transfer of Sentenced Persons Treaties, like the one the Philippines has with Spain. Such a treaty allows Filipinos serving jail time abroad to serve their sentences here in the Philippines. “Maybe in coordination with (the countries/territories concerned), we can pursue that path.”
It only shows a significant shift in the country’s foreign policy under the Duterte administration, which is apparently a declaration of independence from the influence of the west, i.e. US and EU, who are using grants and trade as the proverbial stick and carrot.
It also speaks volumes about the President’s determined position to stand up against the traditional patrons of former colonies like the Philippines.
I am not ready to say this early if this is the right direction of our foreign policy. Only time can tell if it will do our country right or not, or if it is all worth giving a chance to be tested.
If only we do not have a territorial dispute with China, it is easier to concede that it is all worth the gamble.
Any statement spoken by a country’s leader is always construed as a policy statement. Having said that, I don’t see any drastic change in the long-standing friendly relations between the Philippines and the United States. We are one of the United States’ strongest allies in the Asia-Pacific region, and it will stay that way.
Presidents come after elections and go after their terms end, while alliances between countries remain strong, especially between the United States and the Philippines. I hope our president will soon realize that diplomacy is always part and parcel of a country’s foreign policy and being the country’s leader, he shapes that policy.