Duterte changes heart, softens on US ‘intervention’

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HE HAS been known for his staunch opposition to the presence of US government security forces in Davao City, a disapproval always underscored by a distinct gnash–a Rodrigo Duterte stamp.

Always he has maintained that the presence of American soldiers in Davao would spell trouble.

Just in August, he said he declined the request of the US government to use as drones facility the abandoned old airport building of Davao.

“Puputok ang Davao (Davao will be in trouble) if Americans will operate here,” Mayor Duterte said then.

A month after, he changed his mind.

Why?

After meeting some visiting Korean nationals last week, Duterte said he might allow the presence of US forces in Davao City if terror attacks continue in Davao. Before this meeting, two separate bombs exploded inside Cinema 1 of SM Davao and Cinema 5 of Gaisano Mall. Although no one was seriously hurt in the blasts, authorities are not taking the incidents sitting down, saying the bomb explosions only showed that it can happen again; that terror groups can do it in Davao.

In a press conference recently, Duterte explained his change of heart. And his message was clear–to reciprocate and counter the acts of terrorism.

“You have to do something in parity to what is being done to you,” said Duterte. “Combat terrorism? Yes.”

But he was quick to stress that if US soldiers will be allowed to operate in Davao City, none of what they did to other countries like Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan must happen here.

“They have to avoid the destruction of human life,” he said.

But the progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is concerned over Duterte’s recent pronouncement.

“US imperialism is always deceptive in nature, able to portray itself as a friend when it is in fact the bigger enemy,” said Sheena Duazo, secretary general of Bayan-Southern Mindanao. “Countless time conflicts have been instigated by the US to justify the need of military aid–when it is US that had played a significant role in perpetuating these conflicts in the pretext for a military insertion that would lead to a takeover of the country’s leadership.”

Duazo said this pattern was obviously at play in Syria and in Bangsamoro areas in Mindanao.

“We would like to remind the Mayor of Michael Meiring, the CIA operative who was responsible for the Evergreen Hotel bombing,” said Duazo.

Meiring, whose lower body was mangled during the explosion that happened in his own hotel room, was reportedly whisked by operatives of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation while being treated at a hospital here. He was tagged by a local court as a terrorist.

“We would like to remind the Mayor of the confessions by the Philippine soldiers of the Magdalo coup, who were asked to instigate violence in their own homeland, against Moro civilians by causing bomb explosions,” Duazo said.

And Duazo doubts if the US government will give value to the rights of the local people once they are already allowed to operate here.

“The US Troops, the CIA and their other agencies will not respect our laws, our rights and our sovereignty,” she said. “They will hurt civilians, damage our facilities, and bypass local authority. They  will exert such superiority that in turn transgress sovereign rights of nations and disrespect human rights.”

On October 12, US President Barrack Obama is scheduled to visit Manila. Progressive organizations like Bayan consider the visit as a renewal of the military agreement between the Philippines and US. | NewsDesk

 

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