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Duterte Voices Concern Over U.S. Military Presence in Philippines

The presence of U.S. military forces and equipment in the Philippines would put the country in danger, former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said.

“We are in a bind. If the Americans are here to stay and bring arms … it would be too pretty naive or stupid for Filipinos to think that the Americans would only bring conventional warheads,” Duterte said in a recent interview with a local media SMNI, aired late Wednesday night.

The former president opposed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a military pact allowing the United States to deploy its troops, weapons, and equipment in up to nine military bases within the Philippine territory.

“It’s my concern for my country, and an open dialogue is always good,” Duterte added.

Filipinos have become concerned over the enhanced military alliance and strategic security partnership between the Philippines and the United States, particularly after the latter had expanded access to the Philippine military bases under EDCA, as well as more extensive joint military exercises in the Southeast Asian country.

Some analysts believe the United States’ ulterior goal is to preserve its dominance in Asia at the cost of provocation and even war, and the Filipinos, who will be caught in the crossfire, will suffer the most.