13 Sep President Duterte Ordered to Pullout American Forces in Mindanao
On September 12, Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered all American special forces out of Mindanao as he blamed the US for the conflict and security threats in the south.
President Duterte said American forces in Mindanao should evacuate as the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf intends to kidnap them.
As he spoke, “The special forces, they have to go. They have to go in Mindanao. There are many whites there.”
He added, “If they see an American, they would kill him. They would demand ransom then kill him. Even if you’re a black or white American as long as you are an American, (they will kill you),” he added.
Under the Constitution, the US forces are not allowed to engage in direct combat operations, however, they are authorized to assist the Philippine military through training and information sharing. Some US troops were deployed in Zamboanga City to support Philippine security forces to counter terrorism.
President Duterte stated, “The situation there (in Mindanao) will worsen. If they (Americans) are seen there, they will be killed.”
He said that he could not state his opinion during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet in Laos last week as US President Barack Obama was also present in the event.
As he spoke, “I could not speak then out of respect and I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go.”
President Duterte has marked the American government for allegedly moralizing about human rights in spite of its past atrocities. Since then, the Philippines had an uneasy relationship with its longtime ally and treaty partner, the US.
Since President Duterte came to office, nearly 3,000 suspected drug offenders were killed and almost half of them were done by suspected vigilante groups. The US has also expressed sincere concerns over President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, which human rights advocates claimed encourages summary executions.
President Duterte also cited the US’s supposed failure in putting an end to policemen killing African-Americans and accused it of “exporting terrorism” in the Middle East.
The president also showed photos of the Bud Dajo massacre, where US forces killed Moro rebels and civilians during the Filipino-American war.
Shown in the photo were American soldiers with heaps of killed Moros including naked women. It happened in Jolo in 1906 where around 1,000 Filipino Muslims were killed during the atrocity.
President Duterte said,“The US is a hypocrite.”
He also showed the photos of the Bud Dajo massacre during last Thursday’s East Asian Summit in Laos.
He said, “Look at the bodies there… For as long as we stay with America, we will never have peace in that land. We might as well give it up.”
The president added, “See the soldiers stepping on a woman’s bare breast… They even made a postcard out of it.”
President Duterte’s statement reflects the “new direction towards coursing an independent foreign policy,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella stated.
Abella said in a statement, “He (Duterte) has made reference to the unrecognized, unrepented and unatoned for the massacre at Bud Dajo in Sulu by the Americans, hence our continued connection with West is the real reason for the ‘Islamic’ threat in Mindanao.”
He added, “The American silence on the matter lacks congruence with its ‘moral’ position, in the light of actions taken in the past by the Germans who confessed and made atonement for the Holocaust, and Japan which made reparations for the atrocities it perpetrated among the peoples they conquered.”
Abella stated President Duterte is on “morally firm ground” by “breaking up walls that cover dark corners” in the bilateral ties between the Philippines and the US.
President Duterte assured to seek an independent foreign policy and has
frequently emphasized that he is not obligated to anyone but only to the Filipino people.