Duterte explains why US forces will be allowed to use PH bases amid Ukraine conflict

President Duterte said he decided to allow American forces to use Philippine bases and facilities amid the ongoing armed conflict in Eastern Europe to "get it over with."

President Rodrigo Duterte (RTVM Screenshot)

Duterte made this statement after Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel "Babes" Romualdez said that the President was willing to allow the US to use the country's facilities if the crisis stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine spills over to Asia.

In a speech in Malacañang on Monday, March 21, the President said that he made the move in fear that China would start its own invasion if Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to use nuclear warheads.

"If by unfortunate chance, per chance, talagang maipit si Putin at tusukin niya 'yung pula na butones, ah wala na (Putin will be left with no choice and decides to push that red button, then it's over)," he said.

"Then my thinking is 'pag mag ganoon 'yan, ang China will invade. Tatamaan talaga tayo. Tatamaan talaga (My thinking is when that happens, China will invade. We will really be affected)," he added.

According to the President, he allowed the US to use Philippine bases and facilities for two reasons-- they will force themselves in and just to get it over with.

"Now, what was my reason na bakit unrestricted? Kasi 'pag ayaw mo't sa hindi, talagang pipilitin ng Amerikano. Brusko 'yang Amerikano, eh (Now, what was my reason for giving Americans unrestricted access? Because they will go for it. They are rough like that)," he said.

"The reason I said why I gave the orders to our military is to allow them unrestricted para matapos na. Huwag lang sana 'yung China (to get it over with. I just hope China won't get involved)," he added.

He noted that China's hypersonic missiles would be destructive and reach the Philippines in seven minutes if released.

"So kasali tayo diyan kasi ano (we'll really be part of it). Let us not kid each other," Duterte said.

Despite this and despite the Philippines' mutual defense treaty with the US, the President said he would not send Filipino soldiers to war.

"Tatamaan talaga tayo, sigurado ako (I'm certain we will be affected). But I will not send my soldiers upon the request of anybody to join the cause against Russia," he said.

Last week, President Duterte maintained that the Philippines is neutral on the ongoing hostilities in Europe.

"We better maintain our neutrality. Let us avoid meddling in it so that we won't get involved," he said in Bisaya.