World View: U.S. Will Upgrade Philippines Military Bases, Despite Duterte’s Threats

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Philippines war on drugs in chaos after murder of S. Korean businessman
  • US will upgrade Philippines military bases, despite Duterte’s threats

Philippines war on drugs in chaos after murder of S. Korean businessman

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte

The “war on drugs” launched by Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has been extremely popular, even as it has resulted in the deaths of more than 7,000 people at the hands of the police in extrajudicial killings. Duterte had vowed to eradicate the country’s drug problem by March of this year, but now says that it will continue until his term ends in 2022.

Those same police had further abused their power by kidnapping Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman, apparently to collect a ransom. The kidnapping was botched, and the victim was killed by strangulation inside the grounds of the national police headquarters, Camp Crame. Some suspects in the murder are still at large, and Duterte has given them 48 hours to turn themselves in, or have a dead-or-alive bounty on their heads of 5 million pesos ($100,000).

The murder has infuriated the South Korean public, and has embarrassed Duterte to the extent that he has begin forced to suspend his war on drugs in order to conduct a war on “corrupt police.” He will disband all the anti-drug units in the police. In a press conference on Sunday, Duterte said,

You policemen are the most corrupt. You are corrupt to the core. It’s in your system. Cleanse your ranks. Review their cases. Give me a list of who the scalawags are.

Instead, he plans to create a “narco police” command under the existing Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency that will target police involved in the drugs trade.

Philippines National Police Chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday, “We will cleanse our ranks… then maybe after that, we can resume our war on drugs. Rogue cops, beware! We no longer have a war on drugs; we now have a war on scalawags.”

Human Rights Watch is dismissing the new policy as a stunt and a “cynical PR gesture.” Foreign Policy and Sydney Morning Herald

US will upgrade Philippines military bases, despite Duterte’s threats

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte was infuriated when President Barack Obama criticized the violations of human rights in the “war on drugs” when he took office in June. In response, Duterte called Obama “the son of a whore,” and threatened to scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that had been signed in 2014, a move that was opposed by Duterte’s own ministers.

The EDCA agreement allows the expansion of rotational deployment of U.S. ships, aircraft and troops at five bases in the Philippines as well as the storage of equipment for humanitarian and maritime security operations at the five locations.

At a news conference on Monday, Duterte said:

Now, here is my worry: The United States is building depots. They are unloading arms in Palawan, in Cagayan de Oro, and in Pampanga. I am serving notice to the Armed Forces of the United States: Do not do it. I will not allow it.

However, Philippines military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said, “There was no confirmed incident of this nature.” He said that only rubber boats, generator sets, and materials for building shelters would be stored in Philippine facilities.

Duterte’s disgust with the United States has been matched by his fawning over China and Russia. He has asked China to supply two to three fast boats, two drones, sniper rifles and a robot for bomb disposal, in a $14 million arms donation. Russia has offered hardware such as ships, submarines, planes and helicopter.

As I’ve written many times, it is a core principle of generational theory that even in a dictatorship, major policies and events are determined by masses of people, entire generations of people, and not by politicians.

The relevance to Duterte is that the United States is overwhelmingly viewed favorably by the people of the Philippines, while the people of China and Russia are viewed far less favorably. In particularly, there is an enormous mutual hostility between the Chinese and Filipino people. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be on one side, and the US, Russia, India and Iran will be on the other side. The popularity of the United States among the Filipino people means that Duterte’s dalliance with China will be short-lived, and that the Philippines will side with the United States against China in the approaching war. Manila Times and Reuters and The Diplomat

Related Articles

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, South Korea, Jee Ick-joo, Camp Crame, Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency, Ronald dela Rosa, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, EDCA, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla
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