Interview with Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar
Grand Hyatt Hotel
21 October 2016

[start of recording]

SEC. ANDANAR: You know just like the Chinese saying ‘no, may you live in interesting times.

Q: Sir, is the economic future of the Philippines is turning back away from our friends in the United States?

SEC. ANDANAR: No. No, no. Our economic policy will just change and the change is all about opening our doors to other countries. That’s it. And we have an independent foreign policy. Ibig sabihin po nito is that no one interferes and no one even tells us what to do. It is going to be a foreign policy that is made in the Philippines.

Q: But sir, President said yesterday that we would be more dependent for a long time with China. How does this translate to what independent foreign policy–?

SEC. ANDANAR: I’m sorry.

Q: President Duterte yesterday in his speech said that he would—Philippines would be more dependent for a long time on China. So how does this, doesn’t this contradict the independent foreign–?

SEC. ANDANAR: No, I think you are taking it very, in a very shallow manner. Pag sinabi mo namang independent foreign policy, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do business with other countries. When you say independent foreign policy, Pia, it means that we are not depending on the United States or any other ally to tell us what to do.

Q: But sir, he used the word dependent to China which is like–?

SEC. ANDANAR: No, dependent—Dependent, we could be dependent on Japan for investments. We can be dependent on the United States. We can be dependent on any country who wants to do business with the Philippines. And, having an independent foreign policy is completely different from being dependent on the investments of other countries or other businessmen.

Q: [inaudible]

SEC. ANDANAR: The mutual defense treaty that’s beyond me. I am sure that it will be discussed in the Cabinet and it will also be discussed by the members of the security cluster or the defense cluster.

Q: Sir, pag ‘yung sinabing separation militarily, sa ngayon war games pa lang ‘yun?

SEC. ANDANAR: You know–

Q: Aabot pa sa puntong pati ‘yung mutual defense–?

SEC. ANDANAR: Separation is like, it’s not a annulment. It’s not a divorce. It’s like having, it’s like a father and a son. And a father and a son has to leave to the house and the son has to marry and move to a different house.

Parang ganon lang ‘yun. The United States was a father to us for a long time and it is but timely already for us to move out of that house and secure our own house and decide for ourselves.
Q: Sir, what do you say to comments na parang hindi ka nga dumepende sa US, ngayon naman dumedepende ka sa China? Kasi the President used the word depend on China.

SEC. ANDANAR: You know it can be, it can be read in a lot of ways. But you know for my understanding it’s about economic investment. It’s all about that. For a long time, we were very dependent on the United States. But if you really look at the amount of investment, ang nangunguna pa rin is Japan, ‘di ho ba? Tapos China.

So, it’s just saying that it’s about time for us to open our doors to other countries for business. The Philippines is open for investment.

Q: Is China our new big brother?

SEC. ANDANAR: China is not only a friend. China is not only a relative. But China is a big brother.

Q: [inaudible]

SEC. ANDANAR: Of course, of course investments will continue. Wala namang, wala namang—What this means is that our country is now open to other countries like China and we’ve been, we’ve missed so many opportunities from China for the last six years.

Q: Given what China is giving us now, can we avoid becoming as subservient to them as we have been with the US?

SEC. ANDANAR: Of course, that’s always been the policy of the President, that he wants an independent foreign policy, that he will think, that he will fight for the rights of every Filipino and he serves no master but the Filipino.

Q: [inaudible]

SEC. ANDANAR: After that statement? You tell me.

Q: How will that figure sir? How will that figure sir na ‘yung relationship natin in the future with the US?

SEC. ANDANAR: How will that figure?

Q: Paano na po ‘yung magiging relasyon in the future sir with the US?

SEC. ANDANAR: The relationship is there. It’s like having an co-equal relationship with everyone. No one is above anyone. We have good relations with China. Soon, we’re gonna have good relations with Russia. And we have good relations with Japan. We’ve had good relations with the United States, with UK, and other countries. It’s… Walang ano. Kung baga it’s level playing field.

Q: [inaudible]

SEC. ANDANAR: Sa US? Of course, the United States is still an ally.

Q: It’s still an ally?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah. It’s an ally. It’s there. It’s in the mutual defense treaty. Wala naman nagbabago. We’re not abrogating any–

Q: [inaudible]

SEC. ANDANAR: Why is everyone so… Why is everyone so confused and shocked if we asked for investment from China? We should all be happy Filipinos, we’re gonna have more investments. Thank you.

SOURCE: PND (Presidential News Desk)