Palace to public: Duterte is asking whether you’re patriotic enough to support PH’s independent foreign policy

Image from President Rodrigo Duterte's Facebook page
  • Presidential spokesperson clarified Duterte’s statement asking Filipinos to sacrifice a little
  • He said the president is asking whether Filipinos are ready to support PH’s independent foreign policy
  • He added difficulties will come with shift, said benefits will come in the long-run

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella clarified President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier remarks about Filipinos having to “sacrifice a little” as he maintains an independent foreign policy.

According to Abella, Duterte is asking the Filipino people whether they are prepared to endure economic difficulties as the country seeks to wean itself from long-time ally United States.

“Given the fear, he was asking, would the Filipinos believe enough in the nation to set a course, to set an independent course in spite of economic difficulties if and when it should happen,” he told GMA News.

“He’s not saying it will but he said if and when it should happen, would we be willing enough? Would we be patriotic enough to stand behind the Philippines in declaring an independent foreign policy?” Abella added.

While saying he would honor the country’s existing agreements with the US, Duterte stressed he would also pursue warmer ties with Russia and China — two of the global superpower’s traditional rivals.

“Why I’m asking the Filipino in the coming days kung totohanin talaga ng Amerika, I’m going to ask you to sacrifice a little bit. But by next year, I would have entered alliances with so many countries,” he said.

I will have an alliance in the military, trade and commerce with China. I have talked to (Prime Minister Dmitry) Medvedev of Russia and we agreed that I will go there and we’ll talk about what, how they can help us here,” he said.

Abella said that while there will definitely be repercussions with Duterte’s decisions, the country will stand to benefit the long-term fruits of the shift.

“It may be difficult and it may be challenging, but definitely the President sees it as something that will actually add to our well-being and prosperity as a nation,” he said.