By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang explained that President Duterte was just challenging Filipinos when he said the Philippines should just become a territory of another country if it cannot handle its own affairs and will continue to rely on other countries to solve its problems.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after President Duterte said in a speech Wednesday that the Philippines should just be a territory of the United States or a province of China if it cannot stand on its own.
“‘Pag hindi natin kaya (If we cannot do it), we have no business being a republic. You might as well choose. We can be a territory of the Americans or we can be a province of China,” he said.
In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo said Duterte’s remark was just a general statement that if the Philippines cannot have an independent government, it should just allow itself to be colonized.
“It would not matter whether China or any other country. That was a general statement, kumbaga kantiyaw ‘yun sa sarili nating bansa (It was more of teasing our own country).
“Kung hindi natin kaya, ‘wag na tayong magkaroon ng gobyerno. ‘Yun ang ibig niyang sabihin (If we cannot stand on our own, let’s not have a government. That’s what he meant),” he said.
In his speech Wednesday evening, President Duterte said the Philippines does not need the United States to survive as a nation and to solve the country’s problems, saying the Philippines should not be an independent country if it will just rely on someone else.
Duterte likewise explained that he abrogated the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) because he cannot stand U.S. lawmakers portraying the Philippines as a country incapable of administering simple justice.
Malacañang has explained that the decision to scrap the VFA was the result of the series of “disrespectful acts” by some U.S. senators, including the passage of a controversial budget law that bans the entry of Filipino officials supposedly behind the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima.
Duterte also declined the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump to Southeast Asian leaders to come to Las Vegas, Nevada next month for a special summit.