Despite previous remarks stating a visit to the United States was dependent on scheduling, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he cannot go to the country because of the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines associated with his administration.
“I cannot go to America, I am not sure America would be ready for that. The past Congress (had to) ask for permission to go to war,” Duterte said in a speech this week.
In his speech at the joint 68th National Security Council (NSC) and 69th National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) founding anniversary in the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Duterte noted that the firearms deal with an American firm was canceled.
According to a report from the Philippine Star, the U.S. State Department stopped the sale of around 26,000 rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP), following Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin’s concerns over the human rights violations under Duterte.
During former President Barack Obama’s term, he was vocal about Duterte’s war on drugs, prompting Duterte to lash out against the U.S. government.
With President Donald Trump, however, Duterte has seemingly warmed up to the U.S.
“He (Trump) is my friend and of course I have been invited to the United States several times, but you know, it’s not because of anybody or any place there, it has something to do with the schedule,” Duterte said in a speech in during the Asia Pacific Health Islands Conference in Davao City on July 25.
In the same speech this week, Duterte also called out Canada for backing out of a $233-million helicopter deal because the country thought his administration would use it “against the civilians.”
He concluded by pushing officials to ensure a safer country for the next generation.
“We will see to it that the nation that we hand over to the next generation of Filipinos is one that is more stable, harmonious and progressive. Together, let us continue to make great strides as we collectively bring out our countries toward— our country towards a safer and brighter tomorrow,” Duterte said.