Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fumed on Thursday over what he called “interference” by Western countries particularly in his administration’s war on drugs, threatening to expel diplomats of EU countries “within 24 hours.”
In a speech at the Malacanang presidential palace, Duterte warned that the Philippines will not allow other countries to dictate on internal affairs.
“We will not allow anybody, not even the United States, to dictate on us,” Duterte said.
Specifically, Duterte accused the EU of interfering in Philippine affairs.
“You are interfering in our affairs because we are a poor country. You will give aid and then you start to orchestrate what things should be done and which should not happen in my country,” he said.
“Now, the ambassadors of those (EU) countries listening now: tell me because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All of you,” he said.
He added, “We are past the colonization stage. We, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members, can export to each other. We could also have tariff-free (trade).”
Duterte was angered by the EU’s persistent criticisms of his drug war, especially the increasing number of drug-related killings.
Robespierre Bolivar, the acting spokesperson for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), declined to comment on Duterte’s remarks and told Xinhua that the DFA has not received any instructions on the matter.
Duterte has started a “drug war” since he took office last year, vowing to eradicate rampant illegal drug problems and related crimes. The Philippine police have conducted thousands of anti-drug operations and killed over 3,000 drug addicts and dealers.