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President Duterte has told the United States to prepare to leave the Philippines and the eventual abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
Duterte’s remarks came after the US decided not to renew a major financial aid package to the Philippines channeled through its Millennium Challenge Corp. due to concerns about human rights violations in the ongoing war against drugs in the country.
“If we are a country that is very dangerous,” the President said in his arrival statement at the Davao City International Airport upon his return from his state visits to Cambodia and Singapore late Friday night.
“If you think that there is crime there because we execute people, if you think that there is extrajudicial killing here…So why are you here?”
“What is your purpose in this Visiting Forces Agreement?” he added. “So why don’t you just leave.”
According to Duterte, the Philippines does not need financial aid coming from the US because China already expressed its willingness to provide whatever the money the country needs.
“So, ba-bye America and work on the protocols that would eventually move you out from the Philippines,” he said. “We are glad that we are freed from proving anything to the United States.”
As far as he is concerned, it is tit for tat in this particular case. “If you can do this, so can we,” said Duterte. “It ain’t a one-way traffic.”
The President noted that the US cannot seem to recognize the “awesome enormity and the hugeness of the problem of how to treat four million addicts.”
“To me I have a burden of building a nation, continuing with existence,” he said.
Instead of even helping with the medicines of these drug dependents at the outset, the US just “went ahead to shout about human rights.”
“You seem to keep a blind eye and insist on human rights,” Duterte said. (Roy C. Mabasa)