THE PHILIPPINES’ national security management in relation to its foreign policy has been bogged down by political partisanship and the failure of administrations to involve non-government sectors, analysts said in a forum on Tuesday.

“There is this discontinuity of strategy and policies every change of administration, affecting the long-term horizon of strategic planning,” Emmanuel T. Bautista, a retired military general and member of the Foundation for National Interest’s board of trustees, told a virtual forum organized by the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies Strategic Studies Program and the UP Diliman Office of the Chancellor-Task Force Nation-Building.

It “has always been dependent on the leadership style and disposition of the incumbent president.”

Mr. Bautista said a whole-of-nation approach must always be applied to the country’s security, which he said has been “military-centric.”

It must also involve the academe, think-tanks, and sectors immersed in strategic thinking, he said.

“Sometimes we see strategic thinkers being labeled as having political motives or, worse, destabilizers,” said Mr. Bautista, noting that security management is a mix of national power, diplomacy, information, military, and economics.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has been accused of gambling Philippine territories to appease China, from which he got about P1.2 trillion in investment and loan pledges to boost big-ticket infrastructure projects. But critics said few have materialized.

“The country’s sense of nationalism has moved away from being anti-US on account of our colonial legacy and neocolonial dependence to becoming anti-China in recent years,” said Maria Thaemar Camañag Tana, who teaches political science at the host university.

The country’s foreign policy has not been programmatic, Ms. Tana said, noting that it has always been based on the decisions of a sitting president. “There seems to be a lack of continuity.”

The shift had been particularly apparent from the Aquino administration, which sued Beijing before an international court to assert the Philippines’ claim in the South China Sea, she said.

The previous administration’s foreign policy was “derailed when Duterte, who has a completely different worldview from Aquino, became president in 2016.”

Mr. Duterte led a foreign policy pivot to China and away from the US when he took office in 2016. The US, which is not a claimant, has been competing with China in trade.

Washington and its allies have been asserting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which is important for the regional ambitions of Beijing.

Mr. Duterte’s strategy, however, was not widely supported. “Despite the President’s popularity, his pro-China stance has not been well received by the majority of the Filipinos,” said Ms. Tana. “China is still regarded as an oppressor and surveys have consistently shown low regard for China.”

She also said that the media and civil society organizations can help elevate the public discourse on the South China Sea dispute and other regional security issues.

Lara Quimbao-Del Rosario, a former foreign affairs official, said the Philippines had not deterred China’s incursions in its territories at an early stage because it had to deal with other foreign policy issues in the past.

China’s building of structures in a Philippine-claimed reef in the South China Sea as early as 1994 was set aside when the country had to deal with the case of Filipina domestic worker Flor R. Contemplacion, who was convicted by a Singaporean court in 1991 of killing the three-year-old son of her employer.

“The extensive coverage on Contemplacion was too much that it overshadowed what was happening in Panganiban reef or Mischief reef,” Ms. Quimbao-Del Rosario said.

The incident, she said, pushed the Philippines to consider assistance to overseas Filipino workers as a major part of the country’s foreign policy.

“The incident defined the country’s foreign policy in a significant way,” she said. “It became a pillar and it also affected our actions abroad.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Duterte has accepted US President Joseph R. Biden’s invitation for him to attend a democracy summit, which will take place from Dec. 9 to 10.

Mr. Biden has invited “heads of state and government, other government leaders, and voices from the business and non-government sectors” to join America in taking action to strengthen democracy, according to a statement from Mr. Duterte’s office on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden said in the invitation that the Philippines and US will “embark on the work necessary to shape a prosperous and peaceful future built on respect for the rights and aspirations of all people,” according to the Palace. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza