PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday allayed concerns on the impact of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States and maintained that the military and the police force will survive without the assistance from Washington.
In his speech delivered before the awardees of the Ani ng Dangal awards and members of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) held in Malacañang, the President acknowledged the “might and power” of the US, which he admitted has some of the most advanced equipment and technology to deal with rebellion and terrorism.
Duterte, however, said the country’s military and police force are doing just fine with what it currently has and is doing what it can in the campaign against internal and external threats.
Saying that the country should not be called a republic if it cannot face rebellion threats and if the military and police fail to defend the country and the Filipinos, the President said it will be better to just choose between becoming a territory of the US or a province of China.
“In the Republic of the Philippines, do you need a powerful country, the most powerful country at that, United States, do we need America to survive as a nation? Do we need America now to fight a rebellion in our entire country? Do we need their arms? Do we need America?” he asked.
“The might and power of the military of the United States to fight our rebellion here and the terrorists in down south and control drugs, (but) we are doing it (also). They have many sophisticated intelligence gadgets. We only do it manually. But we are doing it. And the military and police said, ‘Sir, we can do it’,” he added in mixed Filipino and English.
The President reiterated that he had carefully thought of his decision to terminate the VFA, telling everyone that the country could not just give knee-jerk reactions to Washington’s actions.
Duterte complained that the US has been painting the country as a nation that cannot administer justice and again slammed its officials who have threatened to bar the entry of Philippine officials supposedly involved in the jailing of opposition Sen. Leila de Lima.
He reiterated that De Lima was given due process and she was investigated before charges were filed against her.