Duterte's nod to Biden's invite shows PH is 'A friend to all, enemy to none'

Published December 9, 2021, 3:52 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte’s acceptance of United States (US) President Joe Biden’s invitation to join the so-called Summit for Democracy only shows that the Philippines is “A friend to all, enemy to none.”

(Photos from Malacañang/ Unsplash)

This, according to Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles, has been the Duterte administration’s foreign policy since day one.

“You know si Pangulong Duterte has always been consistent naman in his foreign policy and even foreign relations,” Nograles told a local cable news program in an interview on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

“And to put it candidly and very consistently the foreign policy of the President has never changed, it has always been ‘A friend to all, enemy to none.’ And he’s stuck by that from the beginning of his term as President,” he claimed.

Earlier in the program, Nograles was asked what Duterte’s acceptance of Biden’s invitation meant, given China’s apparent disdain toward the virtual event in Washington.

China is an authoritarian state and Asian power. Duterte, who took over Malacañang in June 2016, has made a close ally out of China, and has been a multiple time visitor to the mainland.

Duterte has yet to set foot on American soil during his tenure as President.

The Summit for Democracy, which will run from Dec. 9 to 10, takes place amid amid continued posturing between western heavyweights and China in the South China Sea, where the Philippines is located.

“The administration of President Duterte has always stuck with that, ‘A friend to all, enemy to none,” Nograles stressed.

Although the Filipino leader has said a lot of controversial things in the past regarding the long history of the Philippines and US, his recent comments have been more about appreciation for the assistance that has been provided by the Americans to the country in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

It should be noted that China has also been huge benefactor of the Philippines amid the pandemic.

But during the ASEAN-China Special Summit last month, Duterte was as critical as he has ever been on Beijing, saying that the Philippines “abhored” the Ayungin Shoal incident.

“We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments. This does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership,” Duterte said.

Last Nov. 16, three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and fired water cannons on two Philippine boats transporting supplies to military personnel in Ayungin Shoal. Ayungin lies 105 nautical miles (194 kilometers) west of Palawan province in the Philippines and is within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).