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PH will recover if you leave – Duterte

Tokyo, Japan – President Duterte on Tuesday 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.

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 3,700 lives in four months, were bad for business.

“These Americans are really crazy. Their style is to walk here. They think they are somebodies,”’ Duterte said holding 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.”

Duterte then flew to Japan, one of the top US allies in Asia, for a three-day visit that is partly aimed at building on two-way trade of more than $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,” Duterte, 71, said in a prepared departure speech.

No US lapdog

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 that is anchored on a mutual defense treaty.

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.

But his anti-American vitriol also continued.

Duterte said he was not a “lapdog” of the United States, and again voiced anger at American and European criticism of apparent extrajudicial killings under his watch.

“Do not make us dogs. Do not. As if I am a dog with a leash and then you throw bread far away that I cannot reach.”

Meeting with Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Monday to seek clarification on the President’s “separation” statements, Russel said ‘’the succession of controversial statements, comments and a real climate of uncertainty about the Philippines’ intentions have created consternation in a number of countries.”

“Not only in mine and not only among governments, but also growing concern in other communities, in the expat Filipino community, in corporate boardrooms as well.’’

Watching the backdoor  

Meanwhile, outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the United States wants to remain involved in the campaign to quell Islamic militancy in the southern Philippines after President Duterte threatened to kick out American forces.

Goldberg said the security threat in the conflict-plagued region was “very serious”, warning the Islamic State group was among a number of foreign militant organizations trying to increase its involvement there.

“We’ve helped the Philippines as it has reduced the threat over time,” Goldberg told ABS-CBN television.

“But we are concerned obviously about any new intrusion of ISIS (Islamic State group) or any other group that wants to take advantage of open space in the south of the Philippines. So we want to continue doing that.”

About 100 American troops remain in the south, Goldberg said.

Goldberg warned Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian group responsible for the deadly 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, and other foreigners were in Mindanao.

“This is a very serious issue,” Goldberg said.