BEIJING – The Philippines and China have signed six agreements to further strengthen relations, tested by the long-running dispute over the Western Philippines Sea. Analysis of sources from the DND and the DFA suggests, to some extent, that Duterte`s independent foreign policy is consistent (Lorenzana, 2016); Nepomuceno, 2018c). The DND`s desire to maintain an independent foreign policy is illustrated by Lorenzana`s critical review of the MDT, where he proposed “maintaining, strengthening or scrapping the MDT” (Amador, 2019; Koch, 2019a). His comment in a press release at the Malaca-ang Palace summed up his desire to avoid the US-led conflict in the South China Sea: Heydarian, R. (2019th) Closer defence relations between the Philippines and the United States contradict Rodrigo Dutertte`s foreign policy in Beijing. Available at: www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3033268/how-tighter-philippines-us-defence-ties-contradict-rodrigo. Vibar, I. J. (2019) Locsin: The United States remains the “true friend, natural ally” of the Philippines. ABS-CBN messages. July 3rd.
Available at: news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/03/19/locsin-us-remains-philippines-true-friend-natural-ally. Ramos, C.M. (2019) United States is on commitments to PH under MDT – emissaries. Inquirer. July 4th. Available at: globalnation.inquirer.net/177458/us-stands-by-obligations-to-ph-under-mdt-envoy. President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the exchange of the signed agreements, which took place yesterday after their much-anticipated bilateral meeting. These agents are chosen for many reasons. Beyond the availability of data and the feasibility of data collection, the four actors are often involved in the design and implementation of foreign policy. The President is considered “the sole body and authority in foreign relations and is the principal architect of foreign policy” (Executive Order 292, 1987); Senator Aquilino Pimental et al v Ermita, 2005).
This de facto position was upheld by the Supreme Court in decisions on the Power of the Director General to determine foreign relations and policy towards other actors of the state (Senator Aquilino Pimental et al. ermita, 2005). The importance of the FDFA stems from its mandate to “preserve and enhance national security, promote and achieve economic security, and protect the rights and well-being of Filipinos abroad” (Republic Act 7157, 1991). Meanwhile, the DND`s legitimacy lies in its defence against “external and internal threats to territorial integrity and sovereignty, in order to create a safe and stable environment conducive to national development” (Philippines Department of National Defense, 2019). Although the INFLUENCE of the AFP has waned, since it is supposed to remain isolated from party politics since the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 (Baviera, 2012), it makes, through its historical and lasting military relations with the United States, a major player in foreign policy in this context.