Duterte on US aid issue: Prepare to say goodbye
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday warned the United States (US) that he would abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) signed between the two countries.
Duterte made the pronouncement upon his arrival in Davao City early Saturday from his state visits to Cambodia and Singapore.
“You know, America, you might also be put to notice: Prepare to leave the Philippines. Prepare for the eventual repeal or the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement,” the President said.
Duterte’s statement came after the US aid agency Millenium Challenge Corporation deferred the granting of assistance for the Philippines’ anti-poverty programs because of its concerns over the alleged human rights violations in the country.
Duterte believed that the withholding of aid to the Philippines was a last-ditch effort of US President Barack Obama before he steps down from office.
Despite this, Duterte was confident that his administration could rely on China, which he believed would provide assistance to the country.
“What do I need for America? They do not look at us kindly. We have this huge problem and you exacerbate it. Actually, we do not need it. We can survive without American money,” said Duterte.
“We are glad that we are free from proving anything to the United States. We do not need the money. China said they will provide so many money. So bye-bye America and work on the protocols that would eventually move you out from this,” he added.
He stressed that since the Supreme Court had labelled the VFA as an executive agreement and not a treaty, he would “decide soon” to repeal it.
“What is your purpose for this Visiting Forces Agreement? We will never be ready to fight with China. It is you egging a fight there. We will never fight with Russia, that’s too far away. And besides, we are friends,” Duterte said.
Even before Duterte issued the latest tirade, he had threatened that he would not want any foreign troops to operate in the country in the next two years.
The President also said the US troops are free to leave the country, if they think extrajudicial killings in the country are “prevalent and virulent.”
“If you think there’s an extrajudicial killing here, it’s a prevalent one, it’s a virulent practice, then why are you here?” he said.
Asked then if US President-elect Donald Trump could change his mind, Duterte said, “That’s the problem. I have to take the cue from Trump, not from Obama… I have talked to Trump. Trump does not sound hostile or antagonistic to me.”(Sunnex)