• President took swipe at PH’s long-time ally amid depreciating Philippine peso
  • He accused Americans of manipulating depreciation of the peso
  • He reiterated that PH has Russia and China to turn to despite pact with US

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the falling of the value to Philippine peso to record lows in several years, President Rodrigo Duterte accused the US of masterminding the depreciation of the local currency.

“Ina-undermine tayo ng mga Amerikano ngayon. They are manipulating na ang peso raw ay bumababa [We are being undermined by the Americans now. They are manipulating the peso to go lower],” GMA News quoted him as telling Marines in Taguig on Tuesday.

Despite acknowledging that existing treaties and agreements with the US, Duterte accused America of disrespecting and strong-arming the Philippines and said he can always look to open new alliances with Russia and China.

“Kinakaya-kaya kasi tayo ng mga Amerikano. Binabastos na ba. There is always China and I talked to (Russian Prime Minister Dmitry) Medvedev. Kapag inipit nila ako, I will have alliances pero hindi tayo makaalis. We have RP-US pact eh. New alliances of commerce and trade,” he said.

[We are being bullied by the Americans. We are disrespected. There is always China and I talked to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. When the US has pushed me into a tight spot, I will have alliances but we can’t renege. We have a RP-US pact, (but) we will have new alliances of commerce and trade.]

Duterte earlier said he already talked about Medvedev about “crossing the Rubicon” with the US.

“I said, ‘I think I’m about to cross the Rubicon between me and the United States, at least for the 6 years. I will need your help in everything— trade, commerce— and I will open up,’” he said.

However, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said Duterte was just dramatizing and explained that his statements did not mean a complete cutting of ties with the US.

“Well, maybe he was again saying that in a manner to dramatize what he feels are the areas that would need further strengthening in so far as our relationship with the US is concerned,” he said. “I do not think personally that he meant it in the context of veering away from our commitments to the United States, particularly with our agreements and treaty, or with respect to the close and special relations that we have with the United States.”