- President Rodrigo Duterte says on Monday, September 12, that the United States (US) Special forces should leave Mindanao
- According to the president, the presence of the US troops stirs unrest in the southern islands due to their way of pacification
- He also warned the Americans that they may be targets by the Abu Sayyaf group for ransom and eventually, as trophy kill
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, September 12, tells the United States (US) forces, particularly those in Mindanao, to leave the Philippines.
“The US special forces, they have to go. They have to go. In Mindanao, maraming mga puti doon (there are many whites there), they have to go. I don’t want a rift with America but they have to go,” Duterte said.
In a speech that the President has given in the presentation of the Metrobank Foundation's Outstanding Filipinos of 2016, he once again laments the wrongdoings done by the Americans to the 1996 massacre at the Bud Dajo in Sulu where women and children were killed.
In his speech, Duterte had said, "The Moros are our brothers by flesh and blood. On what moral ascendancy do you have over me to talk about human rights?"
He also clarified that his reasons for skipping the ASEAN-US Summit was his principle and not his anti-West bias.
"Had I not been elected as president of this Republic, tignan ko masyadong kawawa ang bayan," Duterte said. "And you just cannot, a president of a sovereign state, lecture-an mo si Obama, it would have been wrong for him to do that," he added.
In the same speech, the president clarified his reasons for telling off the American forces. According to him, the US' violent attempt at settling the unrest in Mindanao continues to stir violence in the southern islands.
"Look at the bodies there. Paano tayo, paano mag-hold-up (How will things hold up). For as long as we stay with American, we will hever have peace in that land. We might as well give it up."
Duterte also said that the American troops may make the situation more tense as they can be targets to the terror group Abu Sayyaf.
"Makakita ng Amerikano iyan patayin yan. Kukunan ng ransom iyan. Even if you are black or white, basta Amerikano ka," he said.
(If they see an American, they will kill him. They will demand ransom and kill him, whether you're black or white.)
"'Di ko lang masalita noon (I just couldn't say so) out of respect or I do not want a rift with America but they have to go," he added.
US Special forces operatives have been killed since the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), a contingent of US troops which includes Special Forces, was set up to fight terrorism and train soldiers in the Philippines in 2002.
The U.S. program was discontinued in the Philippines in 2015 but a small troop presence has remained for logistics and technical support. Washington has shifted much of its security focus in the Philippines towards the South China Sea.