Former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) has resigned as special envoy to China, as confirmed on Tuesday by no less than President Duterte. In his resignation letter, FVR said he is stepping down as the special envoy of the President to the People’s Republic of China in the belief that “the efforts of our team, of the special envoy, played a modest but productive role in the breaking of the ice that led to your successful visit” to China.
FVR, however, categorically told the President he remains a Duterte supporter, ready to give out friendly advice from time to time. FVR’s offer is “also an affirmation of my full support of the national interests of our Team Philippines of 100.5 million Filipinos that you now lead.”
In accepting FVR’s resignation, the President said he is thankful for the former president’s help in bringing together the Philippines and China, and that he has no hard feelings toward FVR, who submitted a civil and respectful resignation letter.
Although Malacañang has released a statement saying there is no animosity between the President and FVR after Duterte accepted the latter’s resignation, the effort failed to stop the deluge of anti-FVR comments on social media by loyal Duterte supporters. Duterte die hards said FVR betrayed the President by quitting on him and by bashing him in public.
Writing in another newspaper, FVR said the Duterte administration’s first 100 days were a huge disappointment and letdown, adding that the President had spent too much energy on his war on drugs and neglected poverty, the environment and the rising cost of living. He also described Duterte’s hostility and mixed statements toward the US as “discombobulating”.
FVR said the President “is unwittingly shooting himself in the mouth, and also all of us, 100.5 million Filipinos” for doing nothing to advance the cause of the Paris Agreement. His words: “Since assuming the presidency on June 30, 2016, the Duterte administration, unfortunately, has done little to move the Paris Agreement forward so that the Philippines can be credited with having ratified this super-important agreement that would prolong mankind’s survival on planet Earth.”
It was not clear why FVR made his criticism at this time. But Duterte has made his position clear on the issue of climate change. To recall, the President earlier said developed countries who are responsible for the majority of historical emissions should carry the larger burden of limiting emissions and that developing countries, like the Philippines, who contributed little to these emissions, should be allowed to continue to grow their economies as they try to industrialize.
FVR, however, has a strong point when he said, “Ratifying the Paris Agreement will…advance the interests of our country and our people, as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. It will also enable us to secure more investments toward our climate goals and gain access to the financial, technological and capacity-building support to be provided to parties of the agreement.” But the President stated the obvious with his response: “How can I act on something that is not even on my desk.”
Miscommunications happen from time to time, even for people in high places. Perhaps, what is needed at this time is for FVR to assume his role as big brother and sit down with the President and help in crafting a strategy that will benefit the country. As a Duterte fan said on social media, publicly criticizing the President and writing damning articles about the Duterte administration is unbecoming of a big brother.