DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte let out another string of strong words against the United States before a mix of Filipino and foreign audience, this time in Japan.
On the second day of his official visit to Tokyo, Japan, Duterte addressed the Philippine Economic Forum at the Convention Hall of Prince Park Tower Tokyo Hotel where he reiterated his disdain against US admonition on his conduct of the anti-drug war.
“If you chastise me, reprimand me before the international crowd and you say, Mr. Duterte you stop the killings, but you fully well know the problem of four million Filipinos already sick and dying, and they would say to you, stop it because we will withhold or suspend aid and assistance in your country, you know it’s like saying I am a dog on a leash,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the US is a great country that has helped the Philippines “in so many ways in the past” but he said the longtime ally also “colonized the country”.
“But you know, and you must know that we were also under a colony of America for 50 years and they lived on the fat of my land. Let us be clear with that,” he said.
Duterte said the US wants him to be “a dog barking for the crumbs on their table.”
“It’s like saying I am a dog on a leash and say if you do not stop biting the criminal, we will not throw the bread right under your mouth, we will throw it farther so that you’ll have to struggle to get it. That is what America wants me to be. A dog barking for the crumbs on their table,” he said.
He said the US’ and the European Union’s statements against his administration’s anti-drug war is “making it hard” for the Philippines to solve the drug problem.
“And here are my friends supposedly, making it hard for my country to solve and even to survive as a reason and that’s a problem for all of us because you might be under the illusion that the PH is still under the influence of this country or that country,” he said.
Duterte also told the foreign audience that if they come to the Philippines “you just have to contend with the new dynamics of my country.”
During his departure speech for Japan at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Duterte said he hopes Japan will understand his position on foreign policy.
“I go to Japan with full trust that we can understand each other. And Japan would understand my position vis-à-vis the foreign policy that I want to implement. It’s just a question of a policy that is really, truly, Filipino,” he said.
On Wednesday, he reiterated his position and said he would not allow the Philippines to be “a doormat before the international public” even if he loses the presidency.
A political analyst here said with Duterte’s recent statements “the US may perhaps see this as total departure from the decades-old ‘friendship’.”
“In the long run, the Duterte administration will have to rely on its own self-reliant military build-up and support from other countries like China and Russia, said Dr. Anderson Villa of the Ateneo de Davao’s Center for Politics and International Affairs.
Meanwhile, John Kirby, US State Department spokesperson said they are “not going to react and respond to every bit of rhetoric” from the Philippine President.
“We’re going to continue to work at this relationship. We’re going to continue to meet our obligations under the defense treaty. And as I said yesterday and I think I’ve said for several days now, that despite the rhetoric, we haven’t seen any policy traction behind it; in other words, there hasn’t been any change, tangible changes, to the policies and to the programs that both our nations are implementing and executing on a daily basis,” he said during a press briefing in Washington on Tuesday. (davaotoday.com)