PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte now wants to enhance relations with the United States under the Trump White House and is prepared to “give all” to Washington except military deals.
Speaking before the Filipino community in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on Sunday night, Duterte said he was “okay” with Trump and was eyeing a better working relationship with his US counterpart.
“President Trump and I are on good terms. And I can assure him also of our friendship and cooperation.
There’s no problem with that,” the President said, noting that Trump gave his support to his administration in addressing the drug menace in the country, unlike Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
“For the previous president, I was evil. The crazy man was planning to jail me. This other one (Trump), he said, ‘You’re right,’” Duterte said.
Duterte said he was ready to “give all, whatever it is” under the Trump administration – except for military alliances.
“Short of, I said, the military alliances, I don’t like that. We can’t handle those,” he added.
The President stressed that the Philippines could not afford to get involved in conflicts, especially since its military is not as well-equipped as that of the US.
“We can’t do that. Why do we look for trouble? Why would I go there just to pick a fight… Let’s not look for a fight. Someday, but not now,” he added.
In a media interview in Myanmar, Duterte described Trump, a billionaire realtor and former reality TV star, as a “realist.”
“He is a guy who knows what is real, what is not, and he does not engage in theories. And even in the matter of human rights, he takes into account everything,” he said.
Duterte again lashed out at Obama, the US State department, and the European Union for raising concerns over his bloody war against drugs.
The President said the US and EU were “trying to be a dictator,” which he said was “not acceptable” to countries like Russia, China, Korea, Japan and the rest of the Asean nations.
“That is why they are trying to protect everybody. That is why they worry about the human rights even if it is not a citizen of their country and dito [here, in the case of the Philippines], what is very sad is they believe in the propaganda,” Duterte said.
“I’m just interested going after the drug guys. I have nothing to do with, what’s your business? I’m trying to protect my country. I’m trying to stay loyal to the oath of office, to protect and preserve the Filipino nation,” he added.