MIND OVER HEART. A security expert urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to rethink his demand for American forces to pull out of Mindanao, stressing that the leader should put preference on national interest over his personal sentiments.
Security expert Ashley Acedillo insisted that Duterte, who has said he is "not a fan of United States," should set clear objectives for his policy statements instead of anchoring them on his personal views.
"Regardless of whatever the personal sentiments of the President are, gusto po natin na naka-angkla sa malinaw na obdyektibo at vision iyung mga binibitawan ng ating Pangulo," Acedillo told radio DZMM.
(Regardless of whatever the personal sentiments of the President are, we wish that his statements will be anchored on a clear objective and vision. )
"Lahat po ng pwedeng maging leader, may kanya-kanya pong sentimyento iyan pero ang 'di ba mananaig po dapat ay national interest? (All potential leaders have their own sentiments but isn't it public interest that should triumph?)," he added.
However, Acedillo noted that the US, an important security ally of Manila, provides Filipino troops with training and tactical advice to prevent the Islamic State terror group from establishing a stronghold in Mindanao.
The US also backs the Philippines in enforcing an international court's ruling that China had no historical rights over the resource-rich South China Sea, the lawmaker said.
US President Barack Obama had sent warships near the disputed waters, in a boost to Manila's claim.
Duterte insisted Monday the US Special Forces must leave Mindanao, saying their presence would only worsen the armed conflict in the region.
Duterte: US forces in Mindanao must go
The President's statement comes just days after he grabbed international headlines for launching verbal tirades on Obama and the massacre of the Moro people during the US occupation.
No policy shift: Yasay says EDCA still on