Forging a New Philippine Foreign Policy (FNPFP) features research papers, commentaries, analyses, and updates on different Philippine foreign-policy related news, covering the country's relations with various and regions of the world.  A project by the Asian Center, it also publishes a monitor on upcoming, ongoing, or recently concluded researches, publications, and events such as lectures and conferences sponsored by various institutions. FNPFP is also part of a research program, Thematic Assessment of Philippine Foreign Relations, funded by the University of the Philippines Diliman. Scroll below to see the latest commentaries. 

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Duterte’s Alliance and Strategic Partnership Diplomacy

Written by Mico Galang on .

In the realm of foreign policy, the Duterte administration has pursued what has been termed by the media as the “pivot to China” policy, i.e. pursuing close relations with Beijing despite overlapping claims in the South China Sea (SCS)—a stark contrast to the frosty bilateral ties under President Aquino. Indeed, shortly after Manila received a favorable ruling from an arbitral tribunal, Duterte made an official state visit to China where he was warmly received and where he forged various economic deals with Beijing.

Some analysts view Duterte’s moves as bandwagoning with China—an observation reinforced when Manila announced its “separation” from the US, which Duterte clarified later as separating from the economic and military policies of Washington in the region. Duterte’s China initiative has raised concerns in some quarters that Manila is pursuing close relations with Beijing at the expense of its allies and partners. As former top diplomat Albert del Rosario candidly argued: “a close alliance, or valued partners and friends, are suddenly cast aside to favor another state.”

Is the Duterte administration really joining China’s bandwagon? Is the new Philippine government casting aside its treaty ally and partners in favor of China?

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The First 100 Days: Decoding Manila’s Foreign Policy Towards China

Written by Mico Galang on .

7 October 2016 marked President Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days in office. In his brief stint, Duterte has undoubtedly stirred controversy over the country’s foreign relations because of his tirades and use of expletives. With his cabinet members clarifying the President’s pronouncements, the government has to flip-flop on certain issues, such as threatening to withdraw membership from the United Nations.

Nevertheless, Duterte appears to have a coherent foreign policy in one key issue: Philippine-China relations. Although wide-ranging, ties between the two countries have been consumed by the South China Sea (SCS) issue. Days after Duterte’s inauguration, a decision in the Philippines v China case went largely in Manila’s favor. But in stark departure from his predecessor’s approach, the new government’s policy towards Beijing has been largely clear: to repair—and eventually promote a stable—relationship with China through strategic engagement. Thus far, it appears that this policy has three key components.

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When Foreign Policy is Lost in Translation

Written by Ann Febel Bajo on .

The question on whether we actually understand policy pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte came about when I had a conversation with a member of the US Special Operations Forces. He is assigned here in Manila and leads a team of Special Forces who train soldiers of the Philippine Army. In the light of foreign policy debacle arising from a succession of anti-American statements by the Philippine President, the counterpart asked, ”Do you think that because he is from Mindanao, he can’t clearly explain himself?” As some of us continue to glue our eyes and ears on the television for yet another Duterte “blunder”, I came to wonder, What does the President want? Do we really understand the context of what he is saying? How do we make sense of it all?