(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte has said the Philippines would seek to deepen ties with Latin America, Africa and Central Asia in the remaining years of his term.
In his speech before the plenary of the 16th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, the President said it was also “high time the Philippines look at the Middle East with fresh eyes going beyond oil and Overseas Filipino Workers.”
“As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the Philippines will assume our twin responsibility of sustaining the growth of our people while helping other developing countries in their own road to progress,” he said.
The President said the Philippines would strengthen its economic ties with these regions, “opening new markets and with it the free exchange of ideas, technology and innovation.”
Duterte said this was also because he wants the Filipino people to “broaden their worldwide view, to be enriched by the cultures and intellectual traditions, and civilizations of the Americas, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.”
“Indeed parochialism and isolationism have no place in the world that is getting smaller and smaller by the day. We have to embrace our shared destiny if we are to overcome the existential challenges of our time,” he said.
President Duterte made the announcement while clarifying that he was not against the United States or the West.
He said he merely wanted to correct the “oversight” of tailor-fitting the country’s foreign policy with that of the US and in the process leaving the other countries, including Russia, on the sidelines.
Since he assumed office in 2016, the President made the unprecedented move of reaching out to China and Russia, which have long been the US’ economic and military rivals.
He also made visits to Israel and Jordan.