MANILA -- Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has underscored that the Philippine government continues to pursue an independent foreign policy.
"We have not backed down in our pursuit of this independent foreign policy," Locsin said in a speech delivered during the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) 121st anniversary celebration in Pasay on Wednesday.
"We have stood our principled ground on various issues, such as the return of the Balangiga Bells, the West Philippine Sea, the protection and repatriation of displaced persons � ours and that of other countries, the promotion and protection of the welfare of our overseas workers, the decent treatment of migrant workers, most famously the open-arm reception of refugees � and that garbage thing," he added, referring to the recent return of Canadian garbage to its port of origin.
The foreign affairs chief said Manila continues to reassess its relationships with other countries.
In the early months of President Rodrigo Duterte's stay in MalacaAang, the Chief Executive's take on the mandated independent foreign policy was observed as a pivot to Beijing at the expense of Manila's longstanding partner, Washington.
Although the government seeks new ties with non-traditional allies, Locsin underscored that it continues to adapt relations with traditional allies to the changing times.
"But never to their changing fortune: we shall never be opportunists. The basis of our external relations with other countries is, foremost, friendship; and not whatever material benefit we hope to get from them," he said.
"We scorn talk of mutual benefit first rather than sincere friendship," he added.
The President's caustic tone against the former US administration has since turned harmonious with strengthened bilateral cooperation under the Trump administration.
As mandated by the Constitution, all chief executives are required to pursue an independent course that would be protective of the country's territorial integrity, sovereignty and its right to self-determination as anchored on the Philippines' paramount national interest.
Source: Philippines News Agency