Independence, not isolation

Philippine flag by Mike Gonzalez

The “independent foreign policy” that President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants to adopt for the Philippines has for some reason been interpreted as either a policy of isolation or autarky in the sense of non-involvement with the rest of the world and a denial of the interdependence of nations, or as a total break with the United States.

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JUNE 12, 1898, the date when, 115 years ago, Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain, was marked this year with the usual speeches, flag-raisings, floral offerings and other rites by officialdom.

The usual vin d’honneur took place in Malacanang, with Benigno Aquino III toasting the “continued partnership” between the Philippines and the countries represented by the foreign dignitaries present so that they may “always endeavor to promote peace, amity and unity for the advancement of humankind.”

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The 8000-pound gorilla

The foreign chambers of commerce based in the Philippines have joined the debate over power issues — and earned accusations that they’re interfering in what’s alleged to be a government effort to reduce electrical power costs.

The chambers of commerce of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea and Europe wrote Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo early this week. Regime threats to review and possibly renegotiate power contracts with Independent Power Producers, the Joint Foreign Chambers said, “will cast doubt on the stability of policies and regulatory rules and on the integrity of investment promotion programs in the Philippines.”

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