PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte returned from state visits to Brunei and China Friday night and explained that his decision to “separate” the Philippines from the United States was because of the disrespect that the American nation had repeatedly shown to the country.
“Nagagalit ako dahil binastos ako [I'm mad because of their disrespect],” Duterte said upon his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City at 10:30 p.m. Friday.
Duterte clarified that he never said he would sever ties with the US because it would be against the interest of the country, particularly because of the number of Filipino Americans in the US, but he decided to shift the focus of foreign policy during his term as president.
“Severance means cutting ties. I cannot do that,” Duterte said, adding that the US has been disrespectful of the Philippines and that is the reason he was pursuing alliances with other countries.
“[But] alliance is a generic term. It means very many agreements. [My pronouncements in China] only means that we will help each other economically,” Duterte said, stressing that Philippine foreign policy need not dovetail with US foreign policy.
Duterte again lashed out at the US and cited instances when he felt disrespected by the US, particularly in 2002 when American national Michael Terrence Meiring was sprung from local custody after he was arrested for a blast at the Evergreen Hotel in Davao City on May 16, 2002.
He also mentioned that the Americans disrespected him when he was running for president when the US brought up the matter of extrajudicial killing at the height of the campaign season. For him, the President said that illustrated “America's dismal failure in the province of human dignity.”
To stress his point, Duterte again raised the controversy about the US invasion of Iraq and involvement in other controversial actions involving Libya and Syria.