Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte has praised the United States, calling it an important security ally, in what can only be described as an epic turnaround by the previously anti-American president.
Duterte dismissed his previous tirades against Washington as “water under the bridge” during his speech at the 116th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in the American-Philippines war, where 39 Filipinos were killed in retaliation for the deaths of 48 US soldiers, reports Reuters.
“This is all water under the bridge, I was under advice by the Department of Foreign Affairs, that I would temper my language and avoid cursing, which I am prone to do if I get emotional,” Duterte said in the speech.
“I would not say they were our saviors, but they are our allies and they helped us. Even today, they provide crucial equipment to our soldiers in Marawi to fight the terrorists,” he said, referring to the city where Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) loyalists have been holed up for four months.
Duterte began showing his softer side towards the United States in August when he called himself a “humble friend” of Washington while meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Just three weeks before Duterte’s change of heart, the president called the US “lousy.”
“There will never be a time that I will go to America dring my term, or even thereafter,” Duterte said in late July. “I’ve seen America and it’s lousy,” he added.
Duterte’s self-proclaimed “temper” showed itself in September 2016, when he labelled former US President Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” after her expressed concern over the Philippine leader’s controversial ‘war on drugs’.
Duterte seems to have a more positive relationship with President Donald Trump, calling him a “deep man” and claiming he wouldn’t have become a billionaire if he were “stupid.”