Duterte balancing nation’s interest, security against threat of potential war: Panelo

“As the Chief Architect of foreign policy, the President strikes a balance between the interest of the nation and the country’s security, as against the threat of potential war with another,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s, other Senators’, and Vice President Leni Robredo’s remarks on President Rodrigo Duterte’s stand on Reed Bank.

Panelo said Duterte maintains friendly and trade relations with other countries, even those with adversarial claims.

“The President is cautious as he is pragmatic. He is a tactician as he is wise. He presses the right buttons, at the right time. He is neither reckless nor tentative, as his detractors and critics picture – or want – him to be,” Panelo explained.

“The Reed Bank issue is a navigation incident, and the President treats it as such. The protocol on this matter shall be observed in accordance with International law or domestic law, whichever is applicable,” Panelo said.

The presidential spokespersons noted that the welfare of the Filipino Fishermen is uppermost in his mind.

He said the President is not waiting for the result of the final investigation, whether done separately or jointly by the two countries, before he gives succor to their plight. “All aid have been given them thus far to alleviate their present situation,” he said.

He also said that justice will be served at whatever cost.

“Sovereignty, as we have repeatedly declared, is non-negotiable. It can not be bartered. Neither can it be surrendered nor diminished,” Panelo said. “We shall assert and protect our sovereignty, from any assault coming from any part of the world.”