By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is annoyed by the lack of reciprocity in the travel rights between the Philippines and some countries, which he claimed showed disrespect toward Filipinos.
The President said Filipinos are required to pay for visas to travel to the United States and other countries while their nationals can freely come and go in the country.
Duterte said the visa requirement has been imposed by some countries since they suspect Filipinos would stay in the foreign land for good.
“Alam mo, ang Amerikano, maski sino (You know, Americans, anyone, can go in anytime. I think we have extended that privilege to Japan and China, parang walang visa pero tayo pumunta diyan sa kanila, kailangan tayo magkuha ng visa sa kanila (to enter without visa but when we travel to their countries, we must get visa first),” he said during an interview with PTV-4 interview on Friday.
“Kasi ang paniwala nila, ang Pilipino pagdating doon, hindi na mag-uwi. Sabagay, ‘yung iba totoo pero (They believe that Filipinos, upon arrival there, would not return home. Anyway, it’s probably true for some but) that is how discourteous their relationships are,” he said.
The President talked about the country’s visa arrangement with the western nations in the middle of his tirade against foreign intervention in the country’s affairs.
“If you go to America, they won’t let you in without a visa stamp on your passport. Americans, on the other hand, can go here anytime without visa. The same goes with those from the European countries,” he said in Filipino.
“And you come here, you engage in verbal abuse, and threaten to remove us from [the United Nations],” he added.
President Duterte earlier threatened to cut the country’s diplomatic ties with the European Union member-states critical of his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs. He said the country could survive “as long as I have China, Russia and Eastern Europe,” along with a bloc of Southeast Asian nations.
“I am prepared to lose all diplomatic relationships with all of the European countries now,” he said. “Do not ever, ever come to the Philippines. You’re not allowed to enter here now,” he said.
After the President made the bold threats, Malacañang later clarified there was “no directive” for the ambassadors to leave the country in 24 hours.
It claimed the President’s outburst was in reaction to a foreign delegation that included European lawmakers who criticized his drug campaign during a recent visit in Manila.