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No ‘Phexit’

So now it’s official. President Duterte will not withdraw the country’s membership from the United Nations (UN) despite its criticisms on his government’s unyielding war on illegal drugs.

The President’s “Phexit” threat last week was apparently his way of emphasizing that “the Philippines is a sovereign nation that should not be meddled with”.

Some people, however, believe that instead of being quite sensitive to certain issues, Duterte should have accepted by now that critics constantly hound prominent people like him and bash them for the controversial decisions they continue to make.

Assuming that the “Phexit” is not an empty threat, bear in mind that the Philippines is an original signatory to the UN charter in 1945. We have sent hundreds of police and military contingents in war-torn areas for a number of years in support of UN’s peacekeeping missions.

The Philippines is likewise a member of the UN Human Rights Council where it is set to serve until 2018. It is also a devoted supporter of women’s and children’s rights and other humanitarian development programs being supported by the UN.

Pulling out of the UN at this point will certainly not bring positive results. The Philippines runs the risk of global isolation and, quite possibly, condemnation from our very own Asian neighbors.

We are a nation still in the midst of a territorial dispute with China, despite the ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague validating the Philippine claim of jurisdiction over certain shoals, reefs, and outcrops.

Known for bullying its neighbors, China has repeatedly rejected the PCA decision to the continued disappointment of Filipinos.

Also, since China can be considered invincible in terms of weapons and military might compared with the Philippines, we will have to rely on the assistance of our Asian neighbors if push comes to shove.

Definitely, withdrawing from the UN may not be the wisest of decisions. It can make a sudden change in the rapport we share with member-states. Apart from this, we may lose a ton of benefits if we isolate ourselves from the international body.

It’s a good thing there’s no more Phexit. Good, too, the Palace has clarified that the President’s statements have been taken out of context… again.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)

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