MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte was taken to task by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan for cracking jokes about foreign policy that could make the country “the laughingstock of the international community.”
“The past weeks saw the Philippine president make a joke about our country being a province of China, and how he was again merely joking when he said he was going to jet ski to the Spratlys to assert our claims,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Saturday, March 3.
The jet ski quip, made during the campaign for he 2016 election, was widely welcomed. But earlier this week, Duterte dismissed it as “kalokohan” (nonsense) and chided people for believing him.
Duterte “also loosely and recklessly used the term co-ownership in describing possible cooperation with China in the West Philippine Sea,” Reyes said.
“Foreign policy is not a joke or a laughing matter,” he stressed. “It must be clear, firm and strongly anchored on our national interest. This is especially true in a time of conflicts abroad.”
“At the end of the day, it is the Philippines that will end up the laughing stock of the international community,” he said.
The Bayan officer noted that despite the Philippines’ victory against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, “we are giving away our sovereign rights to China.”