FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday there will be “no change” in his policy and that he will continue to observe his so called “strategic silence” to “protect the interest” of the Filipinos living and working around the world.
“Whether you talk about diplomatic negotiations, whether you talk about diplomatic relations, or you talk about operational security, there are times when the DFA has to observe what I will call strategic silence,” Cayetano said.
He then asked the public to resort to “reading between the lines.”
He said his department’s silence was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s independent foreign policy where the Philippines would be “a friend to everyone but an enemy to no one.”
“We sometimes make room to negotiate…I’m just saying we cannot change next year,” Cayetano said.
Since Cayetano assumed office, the agency and even the Office of Public Diplomacy, formerly the Public Information Services Unit, had not been releasing timely statements on pressing issues such as the recent declaration of US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or why they abstained from voting on the issue, or even to comment on North Korea’s launching of missiles.
The department has also been silent on domestic issues such as appointment of former Taguig City officer in Charge Administrator Joel Montales, a key ally of his wife Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, as Undersecretary for Security and Consular Concerns and political blogger RJ Nieto as “consultant” for migrant workers’ affairs but filed his resignation later on.
The OPD’s role is to attend the media’s queries and concern in a very timely manner.
Cayetano said the country’s silence on foreign issues was aimed at appeasing countries in dispute.
He said there were also things that his department would not divulge.
“And sometimes maybe, specific issues of the Middle East, South China Sea, etc.,” Cayetano said.
“Sometimes we have some information that we cannot make available yet because it will complicate the matter,” he said.
There are about 10-million Filipinos working and living around the world in 170 countries.
Cayetano plans to give a “better life” to all Filipinos in 2018 by pursuing Duterte’s independent foreign policy,
“The administration and the DFA focus for next year is a better life for all Filipinos,” he said.
Cayetano cited his recent conversation with the President and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III where the latter said that in the 40 years that he was around, it was only this moment where several countries “even rival countries” coming together and paying attention to the Philippines.
The more than $30 billion in loans, commitments and investments were products of Duterte’s independent foreign policy, he said.
Cayetano also plans to streamline the passport process aiming to copy the booking system of airline companies.
In 2018, the DFA is set to establish new regular consular offices in seven to nine places across the country.