Daily Archives: October 4, 2016

THE RELUCTANT STATESMAN

CULTURAL NOTES
October 04, 2016

THE RELUCTANT STATESMAN

Arturo P. Garcia

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President Rodrigo Duterte exclaimed, “I was elected as a President. I was not elected to be a statesman.”On the onset, he might be right. But he was terribly wrong.

First, He is the Head of State. And as the head of state, he is automatically a statesman. That’s a matter of fact and not a matter of choice.

Second, although not all Presidents become statesman, Presidents have the opportunity to become a statesman.

The reason is that he is the head diplomat for the country and every word that he declared becomes policy. Again, he has no choice, whether he liked it or not.

An example is President Diosdado Macapagal who was the architect of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations of ASA that became the ASEAN.

He was considered as great statesman for his work. ASEAN endured for 49 years and now is the cornerstone of economic development of Southeast Asia.

Another great Filipino statesman was President Elpidio Quirino. He rebuild the relations between Japan and the Philippines after the World War II.

In fact he gave the Japanese military and civilian officers who were charged with war crimes and who were imprisoned in the Philippines amnesty.

Despite the fact that the Japanese military was responsible for the death of the family of President Quirino during the Japanese “Rape of Manila” in February 1945,

Quirino displayed his great humanity not only a great act of statesmanship, by forgiving the Japanese and giving them a general amnesty.By his act, he ushered a new era of new diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines.

But we cannot force President Duterte to be a statesman. And yet he acts like a hostile statesman to other parties and nations by his issuing hostile statements and declarations.

On the other side, I believe if he (PRRD) is serious in crafting an independent and self-reliant foreign policy, he had a chance of being a good statesman.

Some wags even are suggesting that another department called the “Department of Interpretations and Translations of the President’s Statements and Declarations.

In the case it will spare many of his cabinet members the worry of explaining his statements.

This will also save the media from being pillared and being blamed for “quoting the president out of context.”

And the last but not the least, will save the nation from further damnation from other countries.

As a word of advice to President Duterte, “insults don’t show the courage and the intelligence of person.”

And he does not have to be statesman to do that.

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