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PH moving on from US, says official

BEIJING, China – The Philippines is not necessarily seeking an “annulment” or a “divorce” with the United States despite President Duterte’s pronouncement on separating with the Western ally.

The government merely seeks a “rebalancing” or “restructuring” of economic relations, especially to lessen dependence on the West, according to some Philippine government officials.

“Separation is like, it’s not an annulment. It’s not a divorce. It’s like a father and a son. And a father and a son has to leave to the house and the son has to marry and move to a different house,” Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar said in a media interview in Beijing shortly before the President returned to Davao City following a four-day state visit here.

“The United States was a father to us for a long time and it is but timely already for us to move out of that house and secure our own house and decide for ourselves,” Andanar added.

After hailing the “springtime” of Philippines-China relations, Duterte recently announced his “separation” from the United States in terms of military and economic ties. The President instead decided to “shift” to China and Russia to enhance stronger economic relations, saying he has no more reason to stick with the United States.

Andanar explained that the Philippines was not turning its back on the United States even as he seeks stronger relations with China, dubbed the country’s “big brother.” (Genalyn D. Kabiling)