President Duterte of the Philippines has made a few interesting comments recently, most of which have served to sever ties with the US. The military, a key alliance for the president, has expressed confusion and concern, saying that they need the US’s more advanced technology in order to continue combatting the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. In fact, even high ranking military officials in the president’s inner circle are shocked, and have expressed trepidation over this attempted split. In addition, he has further distanced the military by attempting to sign a treaty with communist guerillas.
The current explanation for this massive change is that Duterte fears repercussion from the US over his drug slaughter (over 3,000 people killed), and is trying to distance himself before that happens. However, this is only a theory and no official really seems to know why Duterte has made such dramatic decisions.
What I find interesting is that the article clearly states that Duterte is well aware he needs military backing. This was an issue brought up during the election. The country has a long history of coups, and in each case, the military makes it or breaks it. So why insult a country the military has worked with closely, and obviously feels they need? Why make a decision that is so widely unpopular in the military only eleven weeks into his term? These are questions that can only be answered as time goes on.