• ‘PH won’t cut umbilical cord with allies’

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    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the Philippines won’t cut ties with its allies, a day after saying he wanted US Special Forces advising the Philippine military to get out of Mindanao.

    “We are not going to cut our umbilical cord to countries we are allied with,” Duterte said in a speech before the members of the 250th Philippine Airlift Wing at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

    “We are not cutting our alliances, military as well, but certainly, we will follow an independent posture and independent foreign policy,” he added.

    The Philippines has a storied military alliance with the United States, which treats Manila as a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally.

    Since 2002, up to 600 US advisers have been deployed to the Mindanao region under a visiting forces treaty, to train troops battling Muslim extremists, but their numbers have been scaled down in recent years.

    Washington said the Philippine government had not officially communicated President Duterte’s demand to pull US military advisers out of the rebellion-torn southern Philippines.

    No shift
    Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., who is set to visit Washington, said the Philippines will continue to honor its treaty obligations and commitments to the US, including the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) that allows the rotational presence of American troops in the country.

    He argued that the President only wanted “to save the lives” of the Americans who might expose themselves to the risk of being kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf terror group.

    “I would like to assure our Filipino people, there is no shift insofar as our policy is concerned, with respect to our close friendship with the Americans,” Yasay said in a television interview.

    He said only around 100 US advisers were left in Mindanao.

    The Pentagon in June also deployed warplanes and about 120 personnel in the northern Philippines for short-term training missions aimed at ensuring the allies’ access to the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

    Edca gives the US military access to at least five Philippine bases, one of them in Mindanao.

    Not policy, just a warning
    In Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella clarified Duterte’s Monday remarks and said on Tuesday the Philippines won’t turn its back on its alliance with the US.

    In a news conference, Abella said Duterte’s statement should not be interpreted “as policy,” saying the President merely issued an “injunction” and “warning” about the risks being faced by American troops in Mindanao.

    “Basically, what he was sharing was a backgrounder on his new chartered course of an independent foreign policy, that he was simply presenting the context of why there was conflict in Mindanao with the Muslims, simply because the Muslims have this long historical and cultural wound that has been left unaddressed and unatoned for and unrepented for,” Abella explained.

    Since Friday, Duterte, the first Philippine President from Mindanao, has been raising the American bloody pacification campaign in the early 1900s as the reason for Mindanao’s troubles.

    Unrest in Mindanao continues, Duterte believes, because the Moros view the Filipino government in Manila as merely an extension of Spanish and American imperialism.

    Abella said “Having ties with the Americans are therefore also suspect in their intentions regarding peace in Mindanao.”

    On Monday, Duterte said he wanted US forces to leave Mindanao because their presence there would only aggravate the situation in the island.

    “I will review the foreign policy. I just couldn’t speak about it before out of respect, or I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go,” the President said in a speech in Malacañang on Monday night.

    Duterte’s statement came one week after US President Barack Obama cancelled their meeting at the sidelines of Southeast Asian leaders’ summits in Laos, following the former’s expletive-laden tirades.

    Aides said this was triggered by reports that the US leader would lecture Duterte on human rights amid the killings of hundreds of drug suspects in the Philippines.

    The President argues that the US has no moral right to talk about human rights because it has yet to apologize for atrocities during the colonial period, such as the March 1906 Bud Dajo massacre of Moros by the US Army.

    Abella labeled the Sulu massacre as a “skeleton in the closet that erodes the moral ascendancy” of the US.

    ‘Worrying’
    In Washington, the Pentagon and State Department said they had not been officially contacted by Manila about pulling out the remaining advisers.

    Analysts said any drawdown could come at a time of deteriorating security in Mindanao, with the presence of extremist and splinter rebel groups, some of which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

    Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asian security expert at the National War College in the United States, said Duterte’s actions towards the US were worrying.

    “National security professionals that I am in contact with are agog with the behavior of a treaty ally,” Abuza told AFP.

    “It is going to take a lot of work to get this relationship back on track,” Abuza said.

    For Sen. Panfilo Lacson, one of the vice chairmen of the Senate national defense and security committee, said Duterte didn’t seem to have consulted his foreign policy and security advisers regarding his pronouncement to remove US troops in Mindanao.

    “Of course it’s not yet a decision because it can still change. I just hope that he (Duterte) will gather all his security and foreign policy advisers and discuss it thoroughly,” he said.

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    7 Comments

    1. Well, whether this guy wants the US in his corner or not is his business. Most Americans don’t care about the rest of the world anymore, to hell with it (we need to close the foreign bases, bring our troops & money home, & keep them here to rebuild our own country’s infrastructure; I do agree with Trump on that.). Trade, sure, as long as it benefits us; you fight your enemies on your own, though, and if you can’t, oh well, call Putin or Xi Jinping or Modi or Kim Jong-un or whoever, because we won’t be available. But on a different note, anyone who wants to see what a potential Trump presidency might look like should probably pay attention to Duterte’s antics. Those two are very much like peas in a pod.

    2. mabait na pinoy on

      President Duterte keeps on stepping on his little dick (xx small) every time he opens his mouth and I believe he is stressed out, fighting all kinds of criminalities in the country. You read it correctly, PDU30 has a very tiny dick.

      There are no U.S. Special Forces Soldiers stationed in Mindanao, period. PDU30 was mentioning about few elements or few U.S. soldiers working for JUSMAAG mission, headquartered in Camp Aguinaldo. The Joint United States Military Assistance and Advisory Group’s mission is to advice and assists. They are forbidden by U.S. law to engage in combat operations, such as going out on patrol to search and destroy mission or set-up ambush positions to kill Abu Sayaf elements passing by their positions. PDU30 was ill adviced on this issue.

      What is JUSMAAG doing in the Philippines? Well, Philippines is a recipient of economic and military aid from the U.S. and JUSMAAG is there to ensure that military aids given to the AFP will be used by the AFP. It is very simple, isn’t it? JUSMAAG is also a section under the U.S Embassy, Philippines. U.S Embassies around the world normally have sections such as, Foreign affair Section, Military Attache Section, Consular Section, and more. The Consular Section normally documents marriages, deaths, births, and helps the needs of U.S. citizens living in the country such as pensions, disability payments, social security claims, and more, because this office has the ability to connect directly to the offices in the U.S.

      The bottom line: There are NO U.S. Special Forces (combat units or elements) stationed in the Philippines.

    3. The problem with the president is, he is saying something, but doing another thing, like flip flopping. Sending mixed signals is not a good thing, for the Filipinos and our allies.

    4. Flip flopping brains on the work. Saan ba talaga tumatayo ngayon ang pilipinas sa isyu ng west philippine sea at u.s. presence in the country?

    5. For arms procurement purposes, Taiwan, South Korea, and maybe Japan (if you forgave them for WWII atrocities they committed in RP) have aircrafts and naval ships that are enough for the defence demands of the Republic of the Philippines.

      The USA have tons and tons of surplus fighter planes and naval ships but they are not going to give the Republic of the Philippines a well armed air force and navy force. USA calls Philippines its ally. Here are the links to the USA plane boneyards and ships graveyards. . . . . http://www.airplaneboneyards.com/airplane-boneyards-list… . . . . . . https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Ed-jpZMpK7o/maxresdefault.jpg

      If RP was not attacked after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese could have attacked mainland USA during WWII. That was the doctrine of “extra territorial or foreward base defence” played by RP for the USA, which sacrificed millions of Filipinos. . . . . . . Canadian Circle for Asian Issues

    6. Filipino rebels in 1898 practically invented “guerrilla warfare” during the Philippine rebellion for independence against Spain, and the following war against occupying American forces. Now the USA is teaching “jungle warfare” to RP army troops ? That is one of THE MOST ridiculous reasons for US forces to be stationed with all extra pays, safely overseas till its time to rotate back to USA. There will always be a limited war in Mindanao and Sulu because there will always be someone who will not be satisfied of the national Philippine government. Taking up arms is REBELLION and is still punishable by death . . . Canadian Circle for Asian Issues.

    7. n a news conference, Abella said Duterte’s statement should not be interpreted “as policy,” saying the President merely issued an “injunction” and “warning” about the risks being faced by American troops in Mindanao.
      ——————————

      “Those US special forces, they have to go. They have to go. In Mindanao, there are many white people there.
      They have to go,” the President said in his speech during the oath-taking of new government officials in Malacañang.

      The President said the United States’ violent pacification program in Mindanao continues to stir unrest, adding to the tension in the region.

      “Look at the bodies there. Paano tayo, paano mag-hold up [How will things hold-up]. For as long as we stay with America, we will never have peace in that land. We might as well give it up,” Duterte said.
      ——————————-

      These Duterte spokespeople are going to break their backs from all the twisting and spinning of Duterte’s words.
      Every time Duterte speaks someone in the government has to reword and change everything he said.

      If Duterte says it then own it and stop trying to convince the entire world that he meant something different than what he said.