"WHO ARE you to warn us?"
This was what President Rodrigo Duterte had to say on Friday, August 17, after a United States (US) official warned that Philippine procurement of submarines and other military weapons from Russia might hurt US-Philippines ties.
In a speech delivered in Davao City, the President slammed the US for intervening in the Philippines' intent to acquire submarines from Russia.
He stressed that the US, as a long-time ally of the Philippines, should not stop his government from procuring military supplies to boost Manila's defense capabilities.
"You meet me in a forum. You state your case why are you are against my country acquiring submarine. You give me the reason why and make it public. You want us to remain backwards?" Duterte said.
"Is that how you want to treat an ally? And you want us to stay with you for all times? E bright man kaya kayo. Nandiyan yung mga Harvard ninyo. Think about it. Why did you not stop other countries [in] Asia? Bakit kami pinipigilan ninyo?" he added.
(Is that how you want to treat an ally? And you want us to stay with you for all times? You are bright. You have people from Harvard.Think about it? Why did you not stop other countries [in] Asia? Why are you stopping us?)
Randall Schriver, US defense assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, cautioned Thursday, August 16, that the Philippines' planned acquisition of military equipment from Russia may hurt its long-standing alliance with the US.
Schriver, in an interview in Manila, said it would not be a "helpful thing" to the US's alliance with the Philippines, if the Duterte government proceeds with its plan to buy Russian weapons.
The US defense official made the warning on the sidelines of his meeting with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart and other top military officials in Moscow.
Duterte, however, ignored the warning, saying that the Philippines would not be stopped from its plan to improve its defense capabilities.
"You're warning us. Who are you to warn us?... Kayo yung magbigay ng submarino? Mag-iimplode yun. What do I say about implode? Doon galing 'yung putok sa loob, just like the helicopters you sold us,"he said.
(You're warning us. Who are you to warn us?... You will give us the submarine? It will implode. What do I say about implode? I will collapse violently inward, just like the helicopters you sold us.)
"Diyan tayo mag-away on that principle na... What's the problem about acquiring submarines? We are not using [it] against you, neither can we use it against China or anybody else because we are under armed," he added.
(We will fight you on that principle that... What's the problem about acquiring submarines? We are not using [it] against you, neither can we use it against China or anybody else because we are under armed.) (SunStar Philippines)