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Philippines President Duterte: U.S. Military Must Leave Mindanao

Sept. 12, 2016 (EIRNS)—Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte took a huge step forward in freeing his country from Washington’s neo-colonial control today by announcing that the U.S. Special Forces, which have operated in the southern island of Mindanao since 2002, have got to get out.

"The U.S. Special Forces, they have to go," he said, according to the Philippines Inquirer. "They have to [leave] Mindanao. There are many [Americans] there," the President said in a speech at the oath-taking ceremony of the new government appointees in Malacañang, the Presidential palace.

"I just could not say it [at the ASEAN summit in Laos]," he continued, "because I don’t want a rift with America. The situation there [in Mindanao] will be more volatile. If they are seen there, they will really be killed," he added.

Duterte has launched a major escalation in the war on terrorists, primarily against the Abu Sayyaf, originally spawned from the Afghansi fighters trained by the United States to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. The "Abus," as they are called, now claim allegiance to ISIS. Duterte said the American presence will make it more difficult to win a real war on terrorism: "Americans, they will really kill them; they will try to kidnap them to get ransom."

So far, Duterte has not given any hint that he will cancel the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Act (EDCA), the illegal deal former President Aquino rammed through without the Senate approval which the Constitution requires. The EDCA, which allows the U.S. to set up five bases across the country, is now being implemented; but the EDCA was put into effect as an "executive action," based the devious pretext that it was only an extension of a 2002 agreement approved by the Senate, which allowed U.S. Special Forces trainers to go to Mindanao to help fight the terrorists. They have been there ever since.

So, if Duterte makes the U.S. forces leave Mindanao, the new bases in the rest of the country, intended to be the core of a war on China, could go with them. In fact, since Aquino illegally imposed EDCA as an "executive action," Duterte can easily scrap it on the same basis.

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