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Duterte declares independent foreign policy

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday morning declared that the Philippines under his administration would pursue an independent foreign policy.

Duterte made the remarks upon arrival from an almost weeklong trip to Laos and Indonesia for the ASEAN in Vientiane and a working visit in Jakarta.

"We will observe and must insist on the time honored principles of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference, and a commitment to peaceful settlement of disputes," said Duterte in a prepared speech.

"I am not a fan of the Americans... Filipinos should be first before everybody else," he added.

Duterte hit the headlines both in the Philippines and in other countries after he told the ASEAN-East Asia Summit of the killing of thousands of Moros in Mindanao during the US "pacification campaign" in the 1900s.

He made the presentation during a discussion on human rights violations in the presence of US President Barack Obama and United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.


Duterte has bristled at criticism from abroad of his war on drugs, in which more than 2,400 people have been killed since he became president two months ago.

Just before he left for the ASEAN summit, Duterte said it would be "rude" for US President Barack Obama to raise the question of human rights when they met. Such a conversation would prompt him to curse Obama, using a Filipino phrase which can mean "son of a bitch" or "son of a whore."

Duterte also responded badly to similar criticisms from the United Nations, even floating the possibility of pulling the Philippines out of the international body because of it.

"I am the president of the Philippines, not the republic of the international community," the Philippine president had argued.

Nevertheless, Duterte was confident that he had comported himself well during the Laos summit, and he thus deserved "a few applauses."

Obama and Duterte had shaken hands and chatted briefly on Wednesday, easing the tensions over the outburst.

Duterte also revealed that he had chatted with the UN's Ban during the summit. "He (Ban) did mention human rights and I responded very well," explained Duterte without going into details.

"I do not want to pick a fight," Duterte explained. "I only want to be at peace with everybody, doing business with everybody, and no quarrels with anybody."— with reports from Reuters and Agence France-Presse/DVM/NB, GMA News