FORMER President Fidel V. Ramos revealed on Monday, October 31, that he has resigned as the Philippines’ special envoy to China.
“The moment the president came back from China from a successful state visit, I resigned as special envoy to China because the officials have taken over,” Ramos said.
President Rodrigo Duterte made his first official visit to China from October 18 to 21 and announced upon his arrival in the Philippines that he secured a $24 billion deal with Beijing.
According to the president, the deal, which was mostly about trade, investments, and maritime security, would generate 2 million jobs for Filipinos in the next five years.
“I’ve done my job to…break the ice and to help restore the ties of goodwill and friendship,” Ramos added.
Last July, Ramos accepted Duterte’s offer to become the special envoy to China in the wake of The Hague’s ruling regarding the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The arbitration tribunal at The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines and concluded that China’s claim of sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis. China, however, has repeatedly refused to accept the ruling.
Meanwhile, the Palace said it has not yet received the former president’s resignation.
“Moreover, it is not true that the former president can no longer have any role in our engagement with China. His stature and expertise are needed now, more than ever, to follow up and bike on what President Duterte accomplished during his recent visit to China,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
‘Consider me an older brother’
Ramos also said that his criticism toward Duterte’s actions should be considered as advice in helping solve the country’s problems.
“I must be considered by everybody, including the present president, as an older brother of the family,” he said.
In a column published in the Manila Bulletin on Saturday, October 29, the former president chided Duterte for refusing to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“He (Duterte) is unwittingly shooting himself in the mouth, and also all of us, 101.5 million Filipinos. He may claim that to be more “insulting than friendly” to our long-established allies is part of his God-given ‘destiny.’ But, this is obviously wrong, and full of S….T !!!,” Ramos wrote.
Duterte earlier announced that he will not honor the climate agreement, arguing that it would only block the progress of Philippines’ economic growth.
The agreement was signed last April by more than 150 countries, including the Philippines, “to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.”
The Philippines, under former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, agreed to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030.
Ramos suggested that Duterte should approve the Paris Agreement to “promote our country’s interests and fight for climate justice.”
“Any further delay will increase Filipinos’ vulnerability to super-typhoons that are forecast to come soon,” he added in his column.
In a separate column, also published in the Manila Bulletin on October 8, Ramos said that the Philippines has been ‘losing badly’ during the first three months of the current administration.
The former president criticized Duterte’s threats to sever ties with the U.S.: “Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that?”
Despite his attacks, Ramos said he still considers himself a part of the Duterte team, adding that he is free to give friendly advice as part of the country’s democratic culture.
“Those who wish the big Filipino family peace, sustainable development, progress and a place of respect and even admiration in the family of nations, must get together and look for the best solutions to the problems,” Ramos said.