Duterte to US: Forget EDCA 'if I stay longer'

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2016 01:01 PM | Updated as of Oct 25 2016 02:03 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday lashed out anew against the United States, saying the Western superpower can forget about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) it signed with the Philippines if he were to be in power longer.

"You have the EDCA, well forget it," Duterte said in a speech before leaving for an official visit to Japan.

"If I stay here long enough, one day that EDCA will... if it's an executive agreement then I will just...," he said before trailing off.

The EDCA, which was signed in 2014, aims to bolster the alliance between the US and the Philippines. It also allows the US to send troops to the Philippines, as well as build and operate facilities on Philippine bases to be used by both Philippine and American troops.

Duterte earlier questioned the validity of the EDCA because it did not bear the signature of former President Benigno Aquino III. The agreement was signed by then-Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.

Earlier, he also announced that this year's joint US-Philippine military exercises would be the last.

"I look forward to the time when I no longer see any military troops or soldier in my country except the Filipino soldiers," the President said on Tuesday.

"There will be no more wars. Sino ba gegyera sa atin? [Who will wage war against us?] Baka they [US] want to talk about the bogeyman war, stop that shit," he added.

While on his visit to Beijing last week, he likewise made headlines by announcing his "separation" from the United States, saying it will be China, Russia and the Philippines "against the world."

US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, who is visiting Manila, said "the succession of controversial statements, comments and a real climate of uncertainty about the Philippines' intentions have created consternation in a number of countries."

He also said "the growing uncertainty" in the country was "bad for business."

On Tuesday, Duterte took Russell's statements as a challenge to the Philippines.

"Eh di magsilayas kayo, magtiis kami. [Leave the country, we will persevere] We will recover, I assure you we will live," he said.

"I am not also a tuta of any country. Mind you. Ang pwede lang mag-tuta sa akin ang Pilipino. Period. Walang iba," he added.

The President also denied that he made any deal with China during his trip there last week.

"Napakabilis ng malisya ng mga gago...wala kami pinag-usapan sa China kung hindi paano magluto ng siopao na maganda pati chopsuey [They're so quick to give malice. All we talked about in China was how to cook siopao and chopsuey]," he said.

Duterte, however, earlier confirmed that China and the Philippines had reached initial agreements in the peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute.

His administration also announced at least $13.5 billion in trade deals with the Asian superpower.

"Eh di kung may ibigay ang China eh di pasalamat, eh di kung wala eh di wag [If China decides to give anything, thank you. If they don't, that's fine too]," said Duterte.