Duterte says he ‘can’t afford to be brave in the mouth against China’

Published February 12, 2021, 8:36 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said while he does not consider an ally of China or the United States of America (USA), the “exigency of the moment” requires the presence of Americans in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Duterte made the statement as he led the inspection of newly delivered air assets in Clark, Pampanga Friday, February 12.

In his speech, Duterte reiterated that he cannot be “brave in the mouth” against China but said the situation requires the presence of the US in the Philippines.

“I’m walking on a tightrope. I cannot afford to be brave in the mouth against China because we are avoiding any confrontation that would lead to something we can hardly afford– at least not this time,” he said.

“The exigency of the moment requires their (Americans) presence here… Okay lang ‘yan sa akin (I’m fine with it), but we do not like it because we want to remain neutral. We do not want to quarrel with anyone,” he added.

The President said that he was not favoring one country over the other.

“I am not allied with anybody. I am ‘alay,’ i-alay ko ang buhay ko (I am the sacrifice. I will sacrifice my life),” he said.

“I am not against China, hindi ako (I’m also not) pro-American. I am just a Filipino government worker working for the interest of my country,” he added.

Duterte, however, expressed his sentiments about the US not staying true to its promises to the Philippines.

“We asked so much of them because they have taken so much from us. Libre sila (They are free) to advance their troops in our land,” he said.

“Okay na lang ako d’yan (I’m fine with that). But in the past, we ordered so much from them, and so much were not delivered at all,” he added.

President Duterte recalled an incident when he talked to former US President Trump about the Philippines’ need for guided rockets.

“Sinabi niya (He asked) what are the requirements, so I will need the guided rockets. We have been asking for it and we are paying for it but until now, it’s still in the air,” he said.