Duterte tells worried foreign businesses to pack up and leave
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday urged foreign businesses in the Philippines worried about his deadly drug war to “pack up and leave”, as he launched another anti-American tirade before flying to Japan to attract investments.
Mr Duterte voiced outrage at comments the previous day by the top US envoy to Asia that his fiery rhetoric and crime war, which has claimed about 3700 lives in four months, were bad for business.
“These Americans are really crazy. Their style is to walk here. They think they are somebodies,” Mr Duterte said, as he held up a newspaper with headlines reporting the criticism from US assistant secretary of state Daniel Russel.
“Russel says ‘Duterte comments causing worries in business communities’. Then you pack up and leave. We will recover, I assure you.”
Mr Duterte then flew to Japan, one of the top US allies in Asia, for a threeday visit that is partly aimed at building on two-way trade of more than US$18 billion dollars last year.
“With Japan as the Philippines’ top trading partner, I shall seek the sustainment and further enhancement of our important economic ties,” Mr Duterte, 71, said in prepared remarks at Manila’s airport.
“I look forward to meeting business leaders in Japan. I will tell them clearly that the Philippines is open for business.”
Mr Duterte will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and have an audience with Emperor Akihito during the trip, which follows his headlinegrabbing state visit to China.
Mr Duterte, a self-proclaimed socialist with close links to communists, announced in Beijing the Philippines’ “separation” from the United States, throwing into doubt a 70-year alliance.
He quickly walked back from his comments after returning from China, saying “separation” did not mean he would “sever” ties and that the US alliance would continue.
Mr Duterte said yesterday he was not a “lapdog” of the US and again voiced anger at American and European criticism of apparent extrajudicial killings on his watch. –