By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday called out those in the diplomatic service who doubts the foreign policy approach of the Duterte administration, including in its handling of the highly-contentious South China Sea row.
“I know a lot of you who have doubts and have a hard time following this,” Cayetano said in his remarks at the 120thfounding anniversary of the DFA in Pasay City.
Cayetano urged those who still doubt the administration’s strategy to “accept that the Constitution is the sovereign will of the people and the Constitution gives the President the power, responsibility of directing our foreign policy.”
“For those of you who continue to have doubts and refuse to follow, hindi pa huli ang lahat (it’s not the end yet),” the secretary told the DFA rank and file officers gathered at the DFA’s Mabini Hall.
He pointed out that an independent foreign policy is in accordance with the Constitution and is directed by the President.
“We’ve always believed we had an independent foreign policy until we met Pres. Duterte and then we realized that geopolitics wise we were leaning towards one side and having that Cold War mentality that there is a good side and a bad side in foreign relations,” the DFA chief said.
On the other hand, he said there are also those with the “spirit of being a professional” who may have doubts but opt to follow the administration’s foreign policy.
Cayetano, meanwhile, thanked those in the DFA who “embrace wholeheartedly” the foreign policy of Pres. Duterte.
During the awarding rites, President Duterte conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Cross (Bayani) to DFA Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo for articulating the country’s independent foreign policy based on the strategic priorities set by the current administration.
Other awardees were Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Ma. Hellen de la Vega (Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu); Consul General to Dubai Paul Raymond Cortes (Gawad Mabini – Dakilang Kamanong); Special Assistant Robespierre Bolivar (Gawad Mabini –Dakilang Kasugo); Vice Consul to Russia Luningning Camoying (Gawad Mabini – Dakilang Kasugo); and Former Director of Intelligence Unit Eduardo Paraan (Gawad Mabini – Kasugo).