DFA Sec. Perfecto Yasay Jr: Letting Go as Interdependent Brothers

“Philippine separation from the United States – economically and militarily” does not mean severance of relationship or terminating the special bond between our two nations, which remains firm notwithstanding the formidable but surmountable challenges that we face in making liberating change happen.

Indeed, breaking away from our closest friend, only military ally and strategic partner would not be in our best national interest as declared unmistakably by President Duterte upon his arrival in Davao City from his successful trip to China very early this morning.

And yet, separation from our former colonial master is demanded in pursuing our independent foreign policy. It implies breaking away from the debilitating mindset of dependency and subservience – economically and militarily – that have perpetuated our “little brown brother” image to America, which has stunted our growth and advancement.

Dismantling this old paradigm to give way to new stronger structures and methods in promoting better understanding and mutually beneficial relationships does not signify destroying alliances, making enemies or creating new barriers towards working together.

It simply means letting go of the disguised chains that continue to hold us captive to foreign interests in order to enable our people and duly elected leaders to address our urgent problems and needs in the light of our priorities, experiences and values without undue outside interference.

It is for this reason that President Duterte has fashioned a new course towards integration and dynamic economic and trade relations with Asean and our Asian neighbors, especially with China, Japan, and South Korea, that have offered us assistance, support and cooperation without any political strings attached.

Significantly, President Duterte told President Xi Jinping and other key Chinese leaders that if they are not willing to lend their support, assistance and cooperation fairly, justly and in mutual respect, the Filipinos will chart their destiny alone, despite great odds, in their determination not to commit the same mistakes that have worked against the general welfare.

This separation means enabling the Philippines as a sovereign equal with all nations in securing world peace not war, forging stronger friendships and not enmity and making our planet a better and safer place for everyone.