Press Release
March 12, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1233:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima re: the Philippines' role if Ukraine War spills over to Asia

It is difficult to discuss whatever the future role of the Philippines is in the event the conflict in Ukraine spills over to Asia without sounding belligerent. Southeast Asia as of now is still very remote from the conflict, other than feeling the war's economic repercussions.

To talk about Philippine involvement means that the conflict has already expanded to other parts of NATO Europe and the US, for the Philippines to be taking into consideration its defense arrangements with the US. This also means that the conflict has approached a global scale, heading towards a third world war.

As of present, this matter is not being discussed by the leaders of Europe and the US for the simple reason that it engenders an escalation in the language of the conflict, something that Europe and the US do not intend to achieve given the already dangerous state of mind of Putin and his capacity to involve the whole world in a conflagration. This is why the US did not respond to Putin's order placing Russia's nuclear forces on alert. And rightly so. Putin is playing a dangerous game, and the West is not about to engage him in a game where he is ready to lose everything but the West is not.

As such, Duterte's projection on the expansion of the conflict to Asia should be taken in this context. It is an irresponsible statement by a head of state, while NATO Europe and the US are careful in their own statements and projections about the conflict.

When Duterte says the Philippines is ready to allow its facilities to be used by the US, he is putting the US under the spotlight if indeed the US is also projecting a worldwide conflict arising from the Ukraine war so as to consider the use of Philippine military facilities. Of course the US is not expected to respond to Duterte's invitation, premature and irresponsible as it is in light of the critical nature of the US's relations with Russia as of present.

The Philippine government should not be issuing statements that are counter-intuitive to conflict resolution and which almost amount to sabre-rattling. The call of NATO and the US is for peace and the withdrawal of Russian forces. For the Philippines to be talking about its role in the event of the expansion of the conflict, while NATO is even steadfast in its own outright refusal to put NATO boots on Ukrainian soil, only reflects Duterte's "utak pulbura" world-view. ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 1233 here:

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