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Lagman on Duterte's break-up from US: Just hyperbole.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman brushed off the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte to break away from the country's longtime alliance with the United States, dismissing it as the leader's 'usual hyperbole.'

The opposition lawmaker from the Liberal Party made the statement Thursday night following Duterte's declaration to cut military and economic ties with the US during his state visit in China.

'This is again President Duterte's usual hyperbole. He does not mean it. The country cannot afford to completely sever ties with traditional economic and security allies like the US,' Lagman said.

He said the Philippines cannot afford to lose allies and that he surmised Duterte was only enticing the goodwill of his Chinese hosts by announcing his shift of alliance to China and Russia, the major players challenging the global influence of the US.

'He is just catering to the goodwill of his Chinese hosts. Diplomacy is 'polygamy.' A country is 'married' to multiple allies,' Lagman said.

In his declaration to repair ties with China amid a maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea that favored the Philippines, Duterte declared his decision to break away from the US in terms of military and economic ties. But he did not elaborate this statement.

'Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States both in military and economics also,' Duterte said.

Duterte earlier said he would realign with Russia and China, declaring that the three countries are 'against the world.'

'I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world-China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way,' Duterte has said, amid a promise from China to give $9 billion in soft loans to the Philippines, part of $13.5 billion in deals signed during Duterte's state visit.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 21, 2016
Words:385
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