Duterte: We can be a US territory or a Chinese province
The Philippines has no business being a republic if it cannot fight its own battles, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday as he raised the possibility of making the country a province of China after Manila pulled out of its Visiting Forces Agreement with Washington.
Despite the Philippines’ military alliance with the United States, Duterte said Filipino soldiers are still the ones handling the country’s communist insurgency and illegal drugs problem anyway.
“Kasi ‘pag hindi natin kaya (If we can’t do it), we have no business being a Republic. You might as well choose. We can be a territory of the Americans, or we can be a province of China, kung hindi natin kaya,” Duterte said in a speech at the 2020 Ani ng Dangal Awards in Malacañang.
“Ganun lang, insurrection,” he added.
Since assuming office in 2016, Duterte has distanced Manila from Washington, its long-time ally, and adopted a friendlier stance towards Beijing despite lingering disputes over the South China Sea, which China claims in near entirety.
Earlier this month, talks of a possible military agreement with another country emerged after the Philippines formally notified the US of its intent to pull out of the VFA even after several of its top officials warned of its consequences.
Duterte said he was assured by the Philippine military and police that state forces could handle the country’s defense even without the help of the US.
The Philippines and US have regularly held joint military training. Washington has also provided military aid to the Philippines' armed forces through equipment donations and capability-building, as well as humanitarian assistance.
Duterte posed the question on whether the Philippines needs a “powerful country” like the United States to “survive as a nation.”
“Sa Republic of the Philippines, do you need a powerful country --- the most powerful country at that? United States of…? Do we need America to survive as a nation? Do we need America now to fight a rebellion in our entire country? Do we need their arms?” he asked.
“Sila, maraming mga sophisticated intelligence gadgets. Tayo wala. Mano-mano lang ito (we do it manually). So, but we are doing it,” he added.
Malacañang earlier said the Philippines must stop being a “parasite” to other countries in terms of defense after its move to abrogate the VFA.
“We must stand on our own and put a stop to being a parasite to another country in protecting our independence and sovereignty,” Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said.
If PH can’t be self-reliant, choose: Be a US territory or China’s province – Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said that if the Philippines could not stand on its own feet, it might as well choose between becoming a territory of the United States or a province of China.
“Kasi ‘pag hindi natin kaya (If we can’t do it), we have no business being a Republic. You might as well choose,” Duterte said, speaking at the oath-taking of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts officials and presentation of Ani ng Dangal awardees. “We can be a territory of the Americans or we can be a province of China.”
Duterte said this as he recalled asking the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) whether the Philippines could survive without the U.S. over the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“Ang tanong ko lang sa Armed Forces (My question to the Armed Forces), ‘Mabubuhay ba tayo kung wala ang Amerika? (Can we survive without the Americans?) Can we fight the wars?’,” Duterte asked.
“Tayo, isang bayan (We are a nation). Sa (In the) Republic of the Philippines, do you need a powerful country—the most powerful country, at that United States? Do we need America to survive as a nation? Do we need America now to fight a rebellion in our entire country? Do we need their arms?” Duterte further asked.
Duterte said the military and police have answered on the affirmative regarding the question of whether we could survive without the United States.
“And the military and police said, ‘Sir, kaya natin (we can)’,” he said.
The President also reiterated that America’s meddling in Philippine affairs is the reason why he decided to terminate the 20-year-old VFA.
“Well, every day in the newspapers and in the halls of the Senate of the United States, we were being portrayed as a Republic incapable of administering simple justice,” Duterte said.
Duterte had ordered the termination of the military pact following United States’ cancellation of the visa of his staunch ally, former top cop, and now Senator Ronald Dela Rosa.
But his U.S. counterpart, President Donald Trump, said he does not mind the agreement’s termination saying “it will save” America “a lot of money”.
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