In a speech in Palo, Leyte on Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte maintained the Philippines must remain neutral in the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Otherwise, baka madamay ang Pilipinas. But, are we not dragged in the situation already?
“Sa ibang parte ng mundo, nagpapatayan na sa Europe, Russia. So, we better, yung neutrality natin, we just maintain it. Umiwas tayo para hindi tayo madamay,” Duterte said.
Either Duterte is not anymore grounded or he really lost his balls somewhere. Why?
Being neutral is siding with the aggressor. When he swore into office, he accepted without reservation the “policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations” as stipulated in Section 2 of the Constitution. As such, he is expected to pursue this policy not only within the country but also in dealing with the different countries in the world. And he cannot choose to implement “amity” alone. Neither can he choose to be friendly with one country alone.
Being neutral in the Russian aggression is not only a betrayal of the constitution but also of the Filipinos. As a leader, he should have exercised foresight on the effects of the war and from there, as an economic manager, he should have made a stand while. The effects of Russian aggression is being felt in this archipelago with the skyrocketing of fuel prices and, soon, the other goods and services.
Duterte’s claim that “sa ibang parte ng mundo, nagpapatayan” is true. If the fuel shortage will not be properly managed, magpapatayan na rin sa Pilipinas. Just look at the woman trying to hoard fuel despite the chemical hazards and threat of fire and explosion she is facing.
Duterte’s claim that the Russian-Ukrainian War is not our battle to fight is a claim of shortsightedness. In the Philippines, it is now being translated into a battle with prices, a battle against hunger, and a battle against poverty. Staying neutral means allowing these negative effects of the Russian aggression to flourish.
We don’t have to carry arms and fight either Russia or Ukraine. What we need is a President who makes a stand for world peace, who is brave enough to tell a friend, “Tama na yan, Vlad, coz you are shooting your own foot and you are affecting my country, too.”