Palace: No turning back on US amid Duterte remarks
Despite the remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte telling American forces to leave strife-torn Mindanao, Malacañang said the government is not turning its back on anybody.
“We are not turning back on anybody,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in a news briefing on Tuesday.
Abella said Duterte’s pronouncement was not yet a policy statement.
“It is not policy yet. It is not policy. In other words, nobody acted on it yet,” he said.
“There is no specific directive as to how this pronouncement will be effected,” Abella added.
The Palace official said the statement of the President was “layered” and could be interpreted in many ways.
“It is not automatically a policy statement but a basis for policy,” he said, referring to Duterte’s remarks.
On Monday, Duterte said he wanted US forces to leave Mindanao because their presence would only aggravate the situation in the region.
“Kaya iyong mga (That’s why those) special forces, they have to go. They have to go. In Mindanao, maraming mga puti roon (there are many US forces there), they have to go. I-review ko iyang (I will review the) foreign policy. Hindi ko lang masalita noon (I just couldn’t speak about it before) out of respect or I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go,” the President said in a speech in Malacañang on Monday night. RAM/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.