President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assured the United States that his government will honor the country’s alliance with the world superpower despite efforts to forge closer relations with China and Russia.
The Philippines has an enduring Mutual Defense Treaty with the US agreed in August 1951.
“I’m just saying it because I like Trump and I would like to assure America that we will not do anything to hinder, hamper or whatever. We will go along with our alliances,” President Duterte said Saturday in an interview with Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy in his television program “Give Us This Day.”
China and Russia are not enemies of the Philippines and they helped the country when it needed arms while battling ISIS-backed Maute group in Marawi City, the President said.
Despite their defense assistance to the Philippines, both countries have not demanded a military alliance or basing arrangements with the Philippine government, he noted.
The President also discussed a wide range of domestic issues during his television appearance Saturday from illegal narcotics and corruption to education and healthcare.
Discussing the provision of basic social services, President Duterte underscored the need for the implementation of an effective population control program.
The country’s rapidly booming population, one of the highest in Asia, has been putting too much stress on the government’s ability to provide the needs of the people particularly education, he stressed.
He called on health officials with conflicting beliefs with government population policy to step aside for the state to carry out effective population control initiatives.
“Sabi ko nga ito…itong mga health officials. If you cannot follow the family planning law of the government, you better resign if you have the scruples to fight with,” he said.
“You are not performing? You do not follow government policy? Does it get into your religious beliefs? Then step down.”
The Catholic Church is a major force hindering the government’s efforts for family planning, he said.
In infrastructure development, he said the Department of Transportation has built many airports and Metro Manila will be decongested of heavy traffic.
“Si (Secretary) Villar is spectacular. You just wait. Ayaw ko mag-ano…but things will improve maybe God- willing, December smooth sailing na. You don’t have to worry about traffic. Cubao and Makati is just about five minutes away,” he said. – PND