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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, October 22, 2016
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with Rolly Espina

Separation from US

Rolly EspinaBy this time, the recent declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte to separate from the United States has send jitters down the spines of many, even including his very fanatic supporters as one ‘dutertard' exclaimed yesterday while throwing flowery expletives at his once revered leader.

We have been on tethers since the president has been dishing out controversial statements particularly against the US and other allies like Europe without any provocation and this most recent one has prompted the US State Department to seek explanation from the Philippine government on what exactly does he mean by that.

As usual, his cabinet members, some, if not all, probably did not expect that the president would utter those words, have been scrambling to justify his statements as not exactly a severance from the US but simply to give opportunity to expand our markets to other areas, particularly with China which is his favorite nation this time, next to Russia.

I've grown tired, and so have many, deciphering this president, and his recent statement is clearly a product of someone who is suffering from psychosis.

He probably loved it that he has rocked the world with his announcement and landed in international news as a hotshot at the expense of the millions of Filipinos who, in one way or another, benefits, from good relations with the US for decades now.

This is not to say that he doesn't have to kiss-ass with other nations including China, but it was not necessary to break ties with other nations that have, in one way or another, helped our country.

I am so sorry for his cabinet members who have become apologists due to his remarks. Before it was easy for them to blame media reporting but now, they have no one to blame as the president's pronouncements was as clear as the invectives he has been dishing out against President Obama or the UN or whoever gets in his way – again, sans provocation.

In a report from CNN that was flashed many times, the reporter quoted a cabinet trade minister saying that Duterte did not really mean cutting military and economic ties as he said verbatim, but rather, to grab at the opportunity of getting into the Chinese market, said to be the second biggest economy in the world.

Ah but I guess, they cannot anymore cover up for Duterte's arrogance as his statements were very explicit, warranting an explanation from the US government.

To even say “I have separated from them (US) so I will be dependent on you (China) for a long time” was a terrible and stupid statement coming from a leader of an independent nation.

He even intimated that he may require Americans to secure visas if they intend to visit the Philippines and stated that, in his term, he will never step foot in the US lest he (representing the Filipino people) be insulted.

Early this month, after a controversial remark about not acknowledging the treaty signed into by his predecessors with the US, he recanted and said he is not severing ties but merely implementing an independent foreign policy.

What it is so independent about what he did when he just announced it to the world that he wants the Philippines this time to be dependent on China?

Russia will be his next target as an ally and I think this suggestion was because of the recent spat between Russia and the US on what's been happening in Syria and Ukraine. He just wants to ruffle feathers…..at the expense of the Filipino people, millions of whom are also dependent on revenues sent by those who were given opportunities in the US and in other parts of the world.

Even his allies in both Houses have been critical about this latest moves. These remarks are really cultivating uncertainties when there was no need too.

In a news report, Senator Gordon said he told representatives of US legislators who were asking clarifications about Duterte's statements and he advised them to “ignore the noise and listen to what the President is actually trying to say.” So let us wait for Gordon and other allies to clarify what the president meant by what he said.

But Senate President Koko Pimentel defended Duterte saying the statement was part of the independent foreign policy this government has been stating and that we should realize that there are powers and points of view other than the US and that the country should be open to these, too.

Of course and we know that. Which is why we have state visits to court other nations too but an independent foreign policy does not mean we sever ties with someone who has been helping us all these years.

Ah, but it all boils down to his favorite war on drugs and the question of extra judicial killings thrown against him. This president cannot do wrong and to criticize him, of course, he will have to get even. His ego has been pricked, so he becomes one.*

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