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Babalik at babalik rin! DLSU’s Richard Heydarian: Mindanao crisis may prompt Duterte to turn to US, EU for help

May 28, 2017 @ 13:13

President Rodrigo Duterte’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy– which entails turning to newfound friends Russia and China for help instead of the United States– may take a u-turn in light of the ongoing crisis in Marawi City, De La Salle University professor Richard Heydarian said.

In his May 28 opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Heydarian noted that Duterte’s hint about extending the scope of the martial law in Mindanao nationwide “reflects the inability of the government to pre-empt and effectively address the conflict in Mindanao, which has provided a hospitable environment for extremist ideology and mobilisation.”

Given the seriousness of the terrorism threat Duterte now has to deal with, Heydarian said the President may have to turn to the Philippines’ traditional allies for help.

“After months of strategic flirtation with China and Russia, Duterte will now have to seek support from tried and tested allies such as the United States, which possesses high-grade intelligence, defence equipment and been a partner in counterterror operations throughout decades,” he said.

“Duterte may also have to revisit his earlier threat to reject, in light of disagreement on human rights issues, grants from the European Union, which has heavily invested in the Mindanao peace process,” Duterte added.

Duterte has criticized and cursed both the US and the EU for calling him out over the administration’s war on drugs. He has told its leaders they should not impose Western values in the Philippines.

Since assuming office, the President has sought closer relations with China and Russia. He has met personally with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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