By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has committed his administration’s stance to protect and preserve the entire Philippine sovereign territory, implying hid regime’s utmost pursuit of an international decision over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
“I will not preside over any process that will abandon even a square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” President Marcos categorically said in his July 25 State of the National Address that drew loud audience applause and standing ovation in Batasang Pambansa.
“With respect to our place in the community of nations, the Philippines shall continue to be a friend to all. And an enemy to none,” the chief executive, known also as PBBM, told a joint session of the 19th Congress.
“The Philippines has always been open and welcoming to all our foreign friends and visitors. That is our world view, and that is our culture,” he told his audience, which included the diplomatic corps.
“But let me be clear: We are very jealous of all that is Filipino,” he reiterated to a standing ovation.
PBBM said the Philippines “will be a good neighbor — always looking for ways to collaborate and cooperate with the end goal of mutually beneficial outcomes.”
“If we agree, we will cooperate and we will work together. If we differ, let us talk some more until we develop consensus. After all, that is the Filipino way,” he said.
“But we will not waver. We will stand firm in our independent foreign policy, with the national interest as our primordial guide,” he added.
PBBM pointed out the need for strong bonds and collaboration among nations, especially in times of crisis, and the partnerships and alliances will provide the stability that all nations need in the new global economy.
He said the country was “grateful for the messages of support and offers of help that we have received from many of our friends in the international community … Such strong relationships can only be beneficial to all involved.”
Marcos did not mention any country in his address, but his first foreign policy pronouncement after being elected president was that he would affirm the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the country’s maritime dispute with China.
“We have a very important ruling in our favor and we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It is not a claim. It is already our territorial right,” he said in May.
The President was ostensibly referring to the disputed area in the West Philippine Sea, an online-generated photo of which is attached with this story. (AGM)