Duterte wants to deepen ties with Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, Middle East
The Philippines will deepen its engagement with Latin America, Africa and Central Asia and look at the Middle East not just as a source of oil and destination of overseas Filipino workers, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday.
Duterte said this would be his focus in the remaining three years of his administration.
"In the remaining three years of my term, we will likewise expand the horizon of Philippine diplomacy by deepening our engagement in Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia," he said in a speech at the Plenary Session of the Forum of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia.
"It is also high time that the Philippines looks at the Middle East with fresh eyes going beyond oil and overseas Filipino workers," he added.
The Philippines gets its oil from the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Most of its OFWs are in the Middle East.
"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 [journey] to progress," Duterte said.
"We will strengthen our economic ties with these regions, opening new markets and with it the free exchange of ideas, technology, and innovation," he said.
Duterte said he wants the Filipinos to broaden their worldwide view, "to be enriched by the cultures and intellectual traditions of the old civilizations of the Americas, Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East."
But he said while the Philippines recognizes the interdependence of nations, "we hold fiercely sacrosanct our own independence."
He said there should be no precondition in any cooperation.
"Openness to cooperation without precondition is the answer to the serious threats we face today ? from terrorism to climate change, from migration issues to refugee crisis, and from new pandemics to looming shortages of vital resources," Duterte said.
In his attendance at the Forum of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Duterte joined four other world leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Heydar Oglu Aliyev of Azerbaijan, and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan. Celerina Monte/DMS