‘US, EU meddle in other countries & kill people under guise of human rights concerns’ – Duterte

‘US, EU meddle in other countries & kill people under guise of human rights concerns’ – Duterte

“There’s not even a whimper” when powerful nations bomb civilians or “invent” WMDs to invade other countries, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte told RT, arguing that the West pretends to care about human rights only when it suits its agenda.

The Philippines leader sat down to speak with RT’s Maria Finoshina ahead of his five-day visit to Moscow that is kicking off on Monday.

Maria Finoshina:Mr. President, it has been almost a year since your inauguration. Have you faced anything that you were not expecting when you took office?

Rodrigo Duterte: I did expect almost everything that came my way. I’ve been a politician for almost 40 years – excluding the term now. So I would say that on the national front I was kept informed all the time by the news and, of course, by sources in government. But I never realized the magnitude of the contamination of the Filipinos in so far as drugs are concerned.

When I became president and everything was available to me for information, I was almost appalled. I didn’t know that we have reached millions of contaminated. So, when I was mayor, I said, do not destroy my city. And do not destroy the young people of Davao City, because they are our assets. We are not rich. Most of us are poor. And we depend on our sons and daughters to feed us when we get old. We do not have any housing here for – few and between. And we need our children to buy the medicines, pay the hospitals, pay for our burial. Do not corrupt them with drugs. Do not destroy their minds.

And I said, “because I will kill you.” I was very clear with that. Do not destroy my country. Do not destroy our young people, because if you do that, I will kill you. And when I became president, I said, “Do not destroy the Filipino youth. I’m the president, I’m supposed to take care of them.” There are so many criminals walking around. They stopped it when I said that. When I was mayor, I told them: “I’m not a policeman but I build the city as mayor.” As president now, I am not a wholesale violator of human rights. I’m not the police – I just give orders. But I build the country.

My orders were very clear: Go out and hunt for them, the drug lords. Arrest them if possible, but if they confront you with violence that placed the lives of policemen or security forces in danger, kill them. Because in the past this was what really prevented policemen and the military from doing it. Why? Because they were so afraid of the human rights thing, which is a new phenomenon. Actually, in the guise of the human rights, countries like EU and America are interfering into the affairs of other nations. In the guise of human rights.

MF:The bitter irony is that, while you are trying to protect civilians, to protect the youth, you sometimes – and you admitted that in one of your interviews – innocent civilians can become victims. Do you think it is a fair price to pay?

RD: Yes. Even in war, even in your own country, if there is fighting between the police and security forces, and civilians are hit, accidentally, and they die. That is not a crime for the police or the security officer. Because they use automatic guns. And when you are confronted with automatic guns, several bullets go out of the barrel, and some of those would penetrate the walls of the houses, and some will go long way and hit another one. But it is really in connection with the fight between law and order and criminals. But you have to pay, the state has to pay. But – sorry. Just like Americans. When they drop the bomb there, it is so powerful that it also kills others there.

But we are talking about human liability. So, it doesn’t say that, because they are Americans, they are exempted. And just because I am a small time government official, I am not exempted. So, where’s the fairness there? No? When they drop bombs, they kill so many villages, and there’s not even a whimper. America invaded Iraq. What was the excuse? That there were weapons of mass destruction. And yet when they invaded Iraq, so many people were killed. So where is justice now?

MF:So you think it’s really hard to avoid civilian casualties?

RD: We need to say, justice has to be equal. It cannot be a justice for one, and another set of standards of justice for another. It has to be equal.

MF:Is that the reason why you’re turning away from America?

RD: Because they refused to understand my predicament when they knew that they were also in the same predicament, only on a larger scale. Remember Panama? Okay, they invaded Panama, a sovereign state in Central America. So what was the purpose there? They went inside, seized the country, arrested the president, brought him outside the country, placed him in a detention cell in New York. He faced a trial in the Federal Court and is convicted. What happened to the invasion? And what was the reason? Drugs.

You invade a country. Me, I’m just fighting the criminals in my country. I never invaded a country. You have to look at it this way: there is so much incongruity in the principles that are being followed by nations. The powerful ones, they can invent the weapons of mass destruction or they can invade your country. Me, I never touch anybody. I do not even go to the United States. And then they criticize me for the criminals that I have killed!

MF: Your relations with the previous US administration were far from perfect. Will you give Trump’s administration a chance?

RD: This is really on record. I said, “Mr. President, I’m President Duterte of the Philippines, I’d like to congratulate you on your election as president, on your victory.” He said, “Oh, I was expecting your call. You’re doing it alright. They are flooding my country with drugs, too.” And you must have heard three nights ago, or four nights ago, when they said he said he’s going to go after drugs harshly. And it was my word when I was campaigning. I used the word “harsh.” You know, I have to protect the innocent so that my country can prosper and live in peace. If I allow these criminals to overwhelm, and there are already 4 million [drug users], where will that put my country ten years from now? Tell me.

MF: Hard to say. And speaking about the US, Donald Trump has invited you to the White House, and you said that you don’t have time.

RD: Yes, I said I’m sorry. I cannot go because I’m busy. That’s actually the truth, as I said before. You might as well have noticed that during the election I was severely criticized by America, and it was during the election time. They ought not to have said words that would either be in favor or against a candidate, or sway the votes. Because it was an election, and you are interfering with the sentiments of the people about who to vote for. Just look what is happening now! They’re insisting that Trump – what’s all that about Trump talking about the ISIS (Islamic State, formerly ISIL)? I can talk to anybody. I can even talk to emir in Jordan and tell him about what’s wrong with the ISIS. So look at this, America.

MF:So how do you feel about that behavior?

RD: You know, they’re talking about a worldwide problem. Why can’t Trump just be open and just tell his counterpart President Putin or maybe [someone else]: “We have the same problem so what’s your strategy there?” How would it affect your national security in a bad way? Tell me. They are discussing a problem which is worldwide, the problem of terrorism, which has happened in his country, and it happened in Chechnya, and even in the theater that was captured, and you had to gas the people, because it was the only way to [do it]. It’s terrorism!

TO BE CONTINUED

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