President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said the Philippines will remain a responsible member of the international community and will partner with other nations to attain common objectives, National News has reported.
In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Duterte said his government has vigorously pursued an independent foreign policy centered on the promotion and protection of the nation’s core national interests.
“Yet we continue to work with all nations and seek partnerships that work. Because despite differences, it still is an interdependent world where interests and objectives intersect,” he said.
And to the Philippines’s friends in the ASEAN and around the world, he said: “Thank you for supporting my Government, my country and people when it truly mattered. I assure you that the Philippines will remain a responsible member of the international community and we will work with you to achieve our shared objectives.”
The President insisted, however, that gone are the days when the Philippines decides and acts in the shadows of great powers, stressing his government will assert what belongs to it and fight for what is rightfully due to the Filipino people.
Under the President’s foreign policy, the country advocated major reforms in international labor and migration as well as adherence to the rule of law.
“We called on the world to dismantle the heinous kafala system because the Filipino is no slave and to anyone anywhere and there is no room for modern day slavery. We helped start a new global civil rights movement for the migrant worker,” he said.
“And, we asserted the arbitration ruling on the South China Sea — clearly and in no uncertain terms — bilaterally, at the ASEAN and finally, at the United Nations General Assembly.”
In addressing disputes and contested areas, the President said the “majesty of the law must prevail”.
On security issues, he said that the Philippines will continue working with its partners in scaling up its maritime domain awareness and defense capabilities.