President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. said Thursday he would retain his predecessor, incumbent President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s policy on illicit drugs and foreign relations.
Marcos said he fully appreciates Duterte’s call for him in their many conversations ahead of the May 9, 2022 election to continue the administration’s ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.
“He said do it your way, but don’t give up because many young people will have their lives destroyed. [by illegal drugs]”, Marcos said in a television interview.
“I fully appreciate what he said. And of course the drug problem in the country continues to be a problem, so we have to keep looking in that direction,” he added.
The former lawmaker will also adopt Duterte’s “style” in foreign relations of not being exclusively aligned with one country.
“When it comes to foreign policy, the PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) has taken an unorthodox path. But again, balance is his thing and I’m okay with that,” Duterte said.
He noted that he would exercise such an independent foreign policy regarding the country’s territorial dispute with China in the Western Philippine Sea.
“We constantly speak to China in a firm voice. We cannot engage them in war. That is the last thing we need right now. We need to continue to discuss with them the conflicting claims we have. said Marcosa.
Likewise, he said he would also coordinate with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to settle the issue.
“I don’t subscribe to the old Cold War thinking where we have some sphere of influence,” Marcos said.
When asked if he considered making Duterte a member of his cabinet, Marcos said he was open to the possibility.
In fact, he said he was ready to take on the other presidential candidates who ran against him.
“Our criteria [for a Cabinet member] is one who is an expert in a particular field and willing to help [the government]”, said Marcos.
Last November, Duterte refused to publicly endorse Marcos, despite the candidacy of his daughter, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio, to be a “weak leader.”