PH Independent Foreign Policy Thrust Explained in Secretary Cayetano NY Media Event


Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (seated, center) thanks the members of the Filipino-American media for connecting the 3.5 million Filipino-Americans in the US at a Presser at the Philippine Center in New York last 20 September. Also present were (seated, from left) Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov, Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega, DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, Consul Armand Talbo. (Photo by NYPCG)

25 September 2017 NEW YORK – At the sidelines of his UN General Assembly participation, Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano shared President Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippine foreign policy thrust at a media event with Filipino-American members of the press held at the Philippine Center in New York last September 20.

He clarified that an independent foreign policy essentially means being friends to all and enemies to none. Under this policy the main consideration will be the interests and welfare of the Filipino people.

The Secretary also mentioned that the President has instructed him to give priority to improving the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers. He added that the Department of Foreign Affairs, along with other government agencies, is tasked to protect the rights, welfare, and ensuring the convenience of Filipinos abroad – including facilitation of consular documents, repatriation, immigration assistance, and legal advice. To this end, he announced that the budget proposal for Assistance to Nationals in 2018 was increased from P400 Million to P1 Billion, and some policies are under review to enable a more expeditious delivery of services.

Lastly, he touched on the economic aspect of diplomacy, acknowledging the growth potential of the Philippines and the value of maximizing bilateral and multilateral partnerships available to the country.

In line with this, he reported that the President has ordered the Philipppine Economic Team members to aggressively promote trade with possible partners, and strengthen infrastructure and policies to support business in the country. The Secretary acknowledged the effect of the war on drugs and human rights on the economy, on which he noted that the President’s efforts are being made to protect the lives of the 105 million Filipinos.

Other issues discussed with the media touched on the West Philippine Sea; relations with the United States and with the European Union; the tension in the Korean Peninsula; foreign development assistance; the statistics and balanced narrative on the campaign against drugs; extrajudicial killings; and the commemoration of the anniversary of Martial Law. END

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Secretary Cayetano with Undersecretary Manalo and Consul General De Vega (photo by NYPCG)