TOKYO – The entry of foreign soldiers visiting the Philippines will soon be a thing of the past.
In line with his decision to chart an independent foreign policy, President Duterte has bared plans to make the Philippines free of foreign military troops “maybe in the next two years.”
On the second day of his three-day official visit to Tokyo, the President even expressed willingness to rescind a defense deal that expanded US military presence in the country just to keep them off his homeland.
“I have declared that I will pursue an independent foreign policy. I want, maybe in the next two years, my country freed of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out and if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, I will,” the President said in his remarks before an assembly of Filipino and Japanese businessmen in Tokyo.
“This will be the last maneuver, war games between the United States and the Philippines’ military. Then, in the fullness of God’s time, I am President for six years, no more,” said Duterte, who earlier announced his “separation” from the United States for its unfair treatment of the Philippines.
The President said he does not intend to pick a fight with the country’s neighbors but explained that the Constitution provides that the Philippines must adopt an independent foreign policy. “I would like to make it clear to everybody that we do not pick quarrels with our friends and neighbors but to me it is high time that the President stands up to its dignity as a people,” he said.
Still hurt by criticisms from “supposed friends” on his war on drugs, the President hit back anew at the United States for treating the country “like a dog on a leash” to follow its every whim.
Duterte asserted that the country will “survive” even without the assistance from the United States and other Western allies critical of his anti-drug campaign. “They would say to you, ‘Stop it because we will withdraw or suspend aid and assistance to your country.’ It’s like saying ‘I am a dog on a leash’ and it said, ‘If you do not stop biting the criminals, we will not throw the bread under your mouth. We will throw it further so that you’ll have to struggle to get it,” he said.
“That is what America wants me to be. A dog barking for the crumbs of their favor,” he added. (GENALYN D. KABILING)