PRESIDENT Duterte said on Tuesday he would build by next year “new alliances” with China and Russia to cushion the fallout from the possible withdrawal of the United States from the Philippines. In a speech in Pampanga province, Mr. Duterte said Filipinos would have to make a small sacrifice for what he had previously declared “crossing the Rubicon” in his ties with the United States while pursuing partnerships with its rival countries or what he called countries on the “other side of the ideological barrier.”
“I am asking the Filipino in the coming days, if America will make good its threat, I’m going to ask you to sacrifice a little bit. But by next year, I would have entered into so many new alliances with so many countries,” he said. In a speech on Tuesday evening at the Navy headquarters, Duterte asked the Marines to give him time so “we can get out of this ambit” of the Americans “who have pushed us around, insulted us.” The President expounded on his Monday speech in which he announced his plan to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev after flying to Vietnam and Japan. “I would have alliances on trade and commerce with China. Russia has agreed to talk about how they can help us here. China is ready to help us with this goddamned problem of drugs,” he said. On China, Mr. Duterte said he would ask its leaders to focus on its criminals, noting the massive shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) laboratory recently uncovered in Pampanga was owned by Chinese and used machines and boilers made in China. “We want them to control their people, increase focus on criminals. We are friends so why does this happen, you, as a friend, should be helping us out,” he said. Mr. President vented out anew his running feud with the United States for what he perceived as its undue interference on how he was addressing illegal drugs and crime. “They said they don’t like me,” Mr. Duterte said, referring to adverse reports that his unstable foreign policy and brutal war on drugs were driving away investors based on the sharp drop in the peso which has hit a seven-year low. He called the peso slide a “manipulation” by his critics to make him look bad.