MANILA Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday vowed to advance the country's image as it pursues an independent foreign policy by being a "friend to all and enemy to none".
In his 120th Philippine Independence Day message, Cayetano coined and tweaked the administration's infrastructure program called "Build, Build, Build" to boost the country's economy into "Build, Bridge, Build," with a firm belief that this would protect the country's interests and serve to bring peace in the region.
Currently, the region is faced with challenges, particularly with the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, involving the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
"We shall, 'Build, Bridge, Build' to protect the country's interests and to achieve peace and prosperity, including the long-term security and stability in our region," Cayetano said.
He stressed that the DFA would remain guided by the three pillars of Philippine foreign policy national security, economic diplomacy, and assistance to nationals.
Cayetano in a speech delivered at the Independence Day celebration in Quirino Grandstand, said this year's 12th of June stands as an auspicious day due to the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
"The leader of the North Korea and the United States of America are also meeting with the prayers of the world for a solution of peace in the Korean Peninsula," he said.
"As we pray for the solution in our country, and in Mindanao; as we pray for the country and our soldiers and the Communist Party of the Philippines around the country that we will find a lasting peace; and as we pray for a zone of peace and cooperation in the West Philippine Sea, we ask Filipinos not only to have faith but to act upon their faith and put action to their faith," he appealed, asking for unity and support to government efforts.
Cayetano said this year's theme "Independence 2018: Change We Fought For, An Offering To An Abundant Future," should also serve as a "clarion call" for everyone to renew efforts toward nation building and social transformation.
"It is not enough to just talk about freedom. We must not only believe in it but also work for it," he said.
He said the Duterte administration is working hard to continue a fight for independence, albeit a different kind of independence: the freedom from crime, freedom from illegal drugs and freedom from corruption.
In his speech, Cayetano claimed there is now a bigger chance of succeeding and attaining freedom from these ills of the society.
"Sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Duterte, malaki ang pagkakataon natin para magtagumpay at maging tunay na malaya," he said. (Under the leadership of President Duterte, we have a better opportunity to succeed and be truly free.) (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency