Expert tells Aquino: Put PH foreign policy in order

The Philippines' territorial disputes with China and Malaysia are both jeopardized by the government's failure to pull its act together in terms of foreign policy, a veteran diplomat said.

Former Philippine permanent representative to the United Nations Lauro Baja, Jr. on Tuesday urged President Benigno Aquino III to put his foreign policy house in order.

"Clear, coherent, agile and effective foreign policies," Baja said, will save the country from "humiliations" in the international community.

Related story: Malaysia charges Filipinos with terror, waging war

This, as he noted that recent territorial disputes over Sabah and the West Philippine Sea show "the serendipitous way we conduct our foreign relations."

"We say and do what we shouldn't and we don't say and do what we should," Baja said at a forum dubbed "The Sulu-Sabah Connection" at the University of the Philippines Asian Center in Quezon City.

"This state of affairs is infectious," Baja added.

The veteran diplomat particularly urged caution in public pronouncements, which he said may put the Philippines at a disadvantage.

"Let's not telegraph our position," Baja said, as he expressed alarm over the President's criticism of the Sulu Sultanate's action on Sabah.

"We must protect our citizens first before we prosecute them for their faults," Baja said.

"There is no duty as sacred and noble for any leader to protect lives, property and the rights of his people," he added.

Also read: Aquino calls for talks on Sabah

The basis for the Philippine claim for Sabah still holds, Baja said, even as he said that this has been "left at the margins of our foreign policy."

Malaysia, he added, took advantage of the hiatus in the Philippines' pursuit of its claim.

As for the deadly standoff between followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Malaysia forces, Baja blamed several government failures.

Failure with intelligence, he said, was highlighted by the President's claims that individuals contrived the Sabah conspiracy with the Sulu Sultanate to derail the Mindanao peace process.

"If there was indeed a conspiracy, why was the government not able to nip it in the bud?" Baja said.

He also hit the President for lack of statesmanship, as seen in his inability to talk the Sulu Sultanate into asking his followers to come home.

Related story: 'Hit squad' out to kill Kirams, says Sulu Sultan daughter

Baja claimed that the Philippines "allowed Malaysia to take dominant control of the situation" and issued "confused" and "paranoid" statements.

Even access to detained prisoners has been denied by Malaysia, an act which Baja said contradicts UN conventions on consular affairs.

"In the bible, we are only told to turn our cheek once. But it seems that we are giving our cheek too often," the veteran diplomat said.

The Aquino administration should not give up on Sabah, with Baja noting that "no government has the right to renounce a claim forever."

Although the Philippines would risk losing, the veteran diplomat said it is better than to not have pursued at all.

"We may be able to attain some strategic space in the process, even if eventually we may lose," Baja said.

He added: "It is time to reach for an edifying moment when we can say on Sabah: This land is ours."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Southwest transport terminal construction start still in limbo

    The construction of the country’s first intermodal transport facility is in limbo as both the government and the winning private concessionaire are waiting on each other before finally pushing through with the contract signing. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the ongoing titling of the project site for the R2.5-billion Integrated Transport System (ITS) Southwest Terminal should not delay the concession agreement signing, which has been indefinitely postponed since February …

  • Jesuit school confers honors on Deles, Ferrer, Iqbal

    Despite heavy opposition from the alumni and even parents of students, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan conferred on Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles a degree on Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa Wednesday. The Jesuit-run university also recognized the other major players in the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as it awarded GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and …

  • Mobile market tapped for saleable items worth P21B

    With more than P21 billion worth of saleable items in Philippine households, online classifieds website OLX Philippines is aiming to tap this market by targeting mobile phone users who could be potential sellers and buyers of second hand items. OLX Philippines hopes to provide better support to mobile users with the OLX app since 50 percent of the website’s traffic is generated by mobile users. “We will soon become a mobile first company,” said OLX Philippines co-founder RJ David in a press …

  • Clark to host drag racing

    Drag racing takes an exciting turn as top guns try to push their respective bids in the third leg of the 2015 Philippine Drag Racing Championship Northern Series at the Clark International Speedway.Former US servicemen William “Bill” Hand and John Ryzia of the Angeles City Hot Rod Association (AHRA)-Garage Power hope to steer their respective American V8 muscle cars to repeat wins to secure solo leadership in their respective divisions. ... …

  • The greatest city in the world

    Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) proudly brought back our flag to the Big Apple when it landed at the JFK Airport last March 15, after an 18-year hiatus. The Manila-Vancouver-New York route 18 years ago was terminated due to an expensive leasing arrangement and the Asian financial crisis. JFK Airport at Queens Borough is 15 miles to midtown Manhattan, connected via the New York subway train system. Consider it normal if you can make it to Manhattan under two hours. …

  • The future of the BPO/KPO industry

    One of the few economic sectors in which the Philippines is a global player is the Business Process Outsourcing/Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (BPO/KPO) industry. According to a recent report of the Everest Group entitled “Global Trends in the Contact Center Market and Opportunities in the Philippines,” our country is the leader in the offshore/nearshore English Contact Center Outsourcing (CCO) market with some 36% share. In the Philippines, the growth has been close to 20% over the last …

  • Ars gratia artis

    The Ateneo Art Gallery, widely recognized today as the first museum of Philippine modern art showcasing works by postwar Filipino artists. Its “pilot,” Ateneo President Fr. Ramon Jose Villarin, SJ, admits that it “runs on the fuel of the generosity and munificence of its donors.”ARTISTS, MODELS, & MEDICIS. Last Monday, 23 March, four recent acquisitions were added to the collection. A Fernando Amorsolo life-size portrait of Liliana de Asis (1952) was a gift of Francisco and Mila de Asis and …

  • Baranda, Dumlao star in Vios Cup

    Defending champion Pauland Dumlao and showbiz personality Phoemela Baranda won their respective heats at the start of the Vios Cup Season 2 held recently at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.Dumlao of Team Toyota San Fernando took the second heat of the Sporting Class category while Baranda ruled the first heat of the Promotional Class division to open the second staging of the event organized by Toyota Motor Philippines. ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options