President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday took a strong stand that the Philippines would not lose even an inch of its territory as he declared the foreign policy under his administration.
“I will not preside over any process that will abandon even one square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address as President.
Marcos’ remarks earned the President resounding applause and cheers from the gallery and lawmakers who attended his first SONA.
The President made the statement after China continues to reject the 2016 Arbitral Ruling that invalidated nine-dash-line claims over the disputed South China Sea.
“With respect to our place in the community of nations, the Philippines shall continue to be a friend to all, an enemy to none,” Marcos stressed.
“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 said.
On Monday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the South China Sea is not a “safari park” for countries outside the region or a “fighting arena” for major powers to compete in.
The issue should be handled by countries in the region themselves, Wang said in opening remarks at a virtual seminar commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
But the President said the Philippines, under his leadership, will be a good neighbor that looks 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. And if we differ, let us talk some more until we develop a 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.
Nonetheless, President Marcos emphasized the Philippines remains committed to maintaining a good relationship with the rest of the world, especially after witnessing the good that collaboration has done to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“It is my sincere belief that the need for strong bonds and collaboration among nations emerges in the direst of times, such as in a pandemic,” he said.
“The partnerships and alliances that we make with all will provide the stability that all nations will need as we emerge into this new global economy,” Marcos added.
The President also thanked the international community for its support for the Philippines upon his election last month, saying he is committed to promoting more robust and multi-faceted relationships with all its partners around the world.
“We are, in fact, grateful for the messages of support and offers of help that we have received from many of our friends in the international community. This has been communicated to us through the different Envoys and the Ambassadors here in the Philippines,” he said.
“Such strong relationships can only be beneficial to all involved,” Marcos pointed out.