MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said the United States (US) should be blamed for the Philippines’ closer ties with China.
Duterte said the US “practically drove me into the waiting arms of the Chinese government” when it stopped the sale of rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“You were the ones responsible, you had two congressmen there. Took the floor in the US Congress to denounce me as a violator of human rights and everything. At hindi ninyo – pinigil ninyo ‘yung armas,” Duterte said.
“What am I supposed to do? Then I went to Russia. Again, I talked to President Putin and he said ‘No problem. Bigyan kita ng armas. Bigyan kita ng truck.’ Ayan dumating,” he added.
“To this day, I’d like to say this to the Americans, to this day, ni hindi sila naghingi ng bayad ng utang ng loob, ni toothpick wala. Wala talaga,” Duterte said.
In 2016, the US State Department stopped the sale of around 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP after US legislators said they would oppose it over concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.
After the arms deal fell through, Duterte said his government decided to turn to China and Russia for sources of firearms, which he claimed did not ask anything in exchange of the military aid./PN