General Admission

‘I’m inutile… and I cannot do anything’

By Al S. Mendoza

 

FOREIGN policy has always been a tricky, if not bothersome, business for any sitting president of the republic.

President Duterte is no exception.

At the outset of his administration following his landslide victory in 2016, Mr. Duterte has immediately admitted that foreign affairs “is not one of my strongest suits.”

It seemed prophetic as his then secretary of foreign affairs, Perfecto “Jun” Yasay, was sacked after he had barely warmed his seat.

Reason?  Yasay, who had passed on just recently, was an American citizen.

Even Mr. Duterte’s present foreign affairs secretary, Teddyboy Locsin, has proven to be ill-equipped.

Locsin loves doing internet rants instead of taking his post seriously.

Just very recently, Locsin went on Twitter again expressing his dismay over a post by the US Embassy declaring Sabah as part of Malaysia.

Locsin, in his usual cantankerous style, used undiplomatic language—again.

“Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines,” Locsin told the US Embassy via Twitter.

The US Embassy used Twitter and Facebook pages in sharing the Sabah news from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Said the US Embassy, quoting an article and photos from the USAID: “@usaid_manila donated 500 hygiene kits to the @dswd-servers Region IX ‘for use by returning Filipino repatriates from Sabah, Malaysia who arrived in Zamboanga City and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.’”

Saying he didn’t like the tweet, Locsin told the US Embassy:  “You better edit that announcement if you know what’s good for you.”

If that’s not gutter talk from a diplomat (is he?), what is?

As I write this, the US Embassy did not respond to Locsin, nor did it change the tenor of what the American office in Manila had posted on social media.

Just right.

Why dignify goon mentality at all?

Every person has the luxury of committing three mistakes in his lifetime and being forgiven at least in two of those.

If you say you can’t forgive Mr. Duterte for appointing Locsin as his foreign affairs secretary, you are justified.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27, Mr. Duterte was too damn honest to say he couldn’t do anything with China’s incursions into the disputed parcels in the South China Sea.

Humility is a real diplomat’s enviable trait.

“China is in possession,” said Mr. Duterte, the country’s top diplomat. “So what can we do?  We have to go to war and I can’t afford it.”

Who can?

“Maybe some other President can, but I cannot,” he said.  “I’m inutile on that matter, I tell you. I’m willing to admit it.  I cannot do anything.”

Who can?

An arbitral ruling on July 12, 2016 made the Philippines the owner of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

But China rejected the verdict, arguing it never recognized the tribunal’s proceedings from the start.

The irony is, even the tribunal admitted it cannot enforce its decision.

Even the United Nations itself said it cannot implement the arbitral ruling.

Maybe, Locsin can?

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