LIPA CITY, Batangas – It would be difficult to imagine the Philippines cutting ties with the United States and Australia, as stated by a presidential aspirant, because they are major trading partners of the country, as well as aid donors, President Benigno S. Aquino III said here Thursday.
Presidential candidate for the May 9 elections, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, has come under fire for saying that he is willing to sever ties with the U.S. and Australia if he gets elected. He made the remark after envoys of the two countries reacted against the mayor’s controversial statement on the rape and killing of an Australian lay missionary.
President Aquino acknowledged that he did not read or hear the comment himself.
“Pero assuming ganun na ganun ang sinabi niya, ano ang pakinabang natin doon? America is a very big trading partner, always in the top three,” he told reporters during a media interview here after the inauguration of the Lipa-Alaminos Road.
“Australia has been helping us even in the peace process in Mindanao and he (Duterte) comes from Mindanao and I am sure he would want to have lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said, adding that the country also extends help in terms of training for livelihood projects.
One must ponder the value of severing ties with those countries, the President said.
“Ano ang value? Ngayon kung walang value, bakit mo gagawin? At kung ang sagot sa dulo, ‘Feel ko lang,’ baka dapat maintindihan ng taumbayan ‘yon,” he said.
President Aquino, however, said he trusts the discernment of Filipinos.
“Sa dulo, ulitin ko lang, tiwala akong marunong mag-desisyon ang taumbayan. So, obligasyon natin siguraduhin na ang desisyon nila ang lumabas sa balota,” he said.