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Strategic caveat for those in charge 

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OUR COUNTRY’s relations with others depends on many factors – policy, personality, history, need, want, disputes, opportunities, convergence and divergence of national interests – to name some. They’ll never be perfect. They have to be managed daily.

In the course of time, relations rise and fall depending on the clash of interests, personal relations, circumstances beyond anyone’s control; or lingering favorable and unfavorable consequences from historical ties and their aberrations. 

In our case that’s how it’s been for example with Spain, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and China. On one hand, the ugly past with some countries have been healed by decades of collaboration. For others, relations are unstable, even rocky. 

How we manage to improve them depends on our maturity as a nation.

That said, yes, we should strive to live up to the tenet of our interdependent foreign policy of “friend to all, enemy to none.” But let’s also be intelligent enough to know that in diplomacy, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.

So, I agree in principle that we should never squander what we’ve built with other countries. But it must be tempered with the understanding that it should NEVER be at the expense of our long-term national interests for the sake of future Filipino generations.

Let’s stop being fooled by sweet words of friendship. Only those below rank amateur will fall for that and parade it like the Bible truth. Yes, we can play around it in this strategic game of diplomacy, but we should never get sucked into it and compromise ourselves. 

Read between the lines. I hope that resonates and is received well.

— Former DILG Secretary Rafael M. Alunan III

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