Duterte: Do we need America to survive as a nation?

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
Duterte: Do we need America to survive as a nation?
President Donald Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte at the Philippine International Convention Center on Nov. 13, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

MANILA, Philippines — "Do we need the Americans?" President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday, saying the Philippines must be able to stand on its own or "we have no business being a republic."

Duterte made the statement when asked about the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States, which will expire in August, 180 days after the notice of termination was sent to the US government.

The VFA allows American and Filipino troops to conduct joint training operations in Philippine territory.

“[In the] Republic of the Philippines, do you need a powerful country, the most powerful country at that, the United States? Do we need America to survive as a nation? Do we need America now to fight a rebellion in the entire country? Do we need their arms?” the president asked during the 12th Ani ng Dangal Awards on Wednesday evening in Malacañang.

RELATED: Lorenzana: Philippines doesn't need the VFA indefinitely

He said that American weapons always land in the arms of rebels who take these from the soldiers they kill.

“So I ask this question, I pose this question: kailangan ba natin ng (do we need) America, the might and power of the military of the United States, to fight our rebellion here and the terrorists...and control drugs?”

'We'll do it hand-to-hand'

"Mano-mano lang ito," he said, using a term often used to mean hand-to-hand fighting.

 "So but we are doing it and the military and police itself kaya natin (have it under control)," he said.

"Kasi pag hindi natin kaya (Because if we can’t handle 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."

Despite stoking patriotic and anti-imperialist sentiments, Duterte first threatened to scrap the  VFA over the United States’ cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s US Visa.

"I'm warning you, this is the first time. Kapag hindi ninyo ginawa ang correction diyan. One, I will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement. Tapusin ko yang p***** *** na 'yan," the president said in a speech in San Isidro, Leyte on January 23.

Dela Rosa has since said that his visa was just the last straw in a series of US acts that he said disrespects the Philippines. 

The Palace has said that termination of the agreement was reached after much study.

RELATED: Duterte threatens to end VFA if US fails to 'correct' Bato visa cancellation

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