President Rodrigo Duterte has made a firm stance that he would never let Philippine troops participate in any war with the United States (US) under his watch.
Duterte issued the remarks, as he slammed anew the US’ role in the withdrawal of Philippine vessels from the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 amid a standoff with China.
“Please do not include my country… Sa panahon ko (Under my watch), there will never be a time that I will allow my soldiers to go somewhere to fight and join the Americans,” he said in a pre-recorded public address delivered Thursday night but televised on Friday noon.
Duterte’s fresh statement against Washington DC came, as he once again chided former Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario over their supposed participation in the Philippines’ decision to withdraw ships from Scarborough Shoal.
On April 29, del Rosario recalled that there was an agreement brokered by the US in 2012 for the Philippines and China to withdraw their ships from Scarborough Shoal to resolve the standoff in the area.
China, however, “deceitfully breached” the deal by refusing to withdraw its vessels from the disputed waters.
Duterte lamented that the past administration, upon the US’ advice, ordered the immediate withdrawal of Philippine ships without considering the possibility that China might “renege on its commitment to everybody” and “stay there and claim the West Philippine Sea as their property.”
If he were Carpio and Del Rosario, he would never order the Philippine vessels to leave Scarborough Shoal, Duterte said.
“Ako, hindi ako aalis doon (I would not leave if I were you),” he said. “Carpio, at ikaw Albert, bakit ganoon? Bakit pumayag ka agad na derecho? Hindi naman sa segurista ka (Carpio and Albert, why did you do that? Why did you order the withdrawal immediately without hesitation)?”
Duterte also expressed dismay that the past administration listened to the US.
“Ang sabi ng Amerika, ‘Kapag pinag-awayan ninyo, territorial disputes, hindi kami makialam.’ Hindi nga kayo nakialam pero nakialam kayo, pinaatras ninyo ang Pilipinas. Eh kayo naman kasi, puro what the Americans say, susunod-sunod lang kayo (America said, ‘When you fight over territorial disputes, we will not interfere.’ You did not interfere but you ordered the Philippines to withdraw. And the past administration listed to what the Americans say),” he said.
Duterte said he would never allow the US to impose “imperialistic might” on the Philippines.
He gave the assurance, as he hit the US for refusing to give the Philippines the “dignity of being a true republic.”
“In the first place, you created a problem not only a few years [back], you created a problem as a matter of fact when you invaded my country,” Duterte said.
He added that in his remaining months, he wants the Philippines to “be left alone and live in peace.”
“Maski na hindi mo ako bigyan ng bagong armas, okay lang yun total wala naman tayong kalaban. So kung hindi tayo makipag-away (Even if you do not give me arms, that’s fine with me because we do not have enemy. So if we do not have enemy), we do not fight with anybody, there’s really no point in acquiring ballistic missiles. We just ask to be left alone and live in peace,” he said.
On April 23, the Philippines and the US concluded this year’s 2021 Balikatan exercises.
Around 225 US military personnel and 415 Philippine soldiers participated with strict observance of health and safety protocols due to the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, during the closing ceremony of this year’s Balikatan, said the exercises help advance the two nations’ military-to-military partnership in pursuit of their shared commitment to “mutual defense in a free and open Indo-Pacific.”