October 4, 2016 – The United States and the Philippines launched annual joint military exercises today, nearly a week after President Rodrigo Duterte said they would be the last between the treaty allies.
The nearly weeklong combat exercises designed to increase capability and boost camaraderie between forces involve 1,100 American and 400 Filipino troops.
They come as the newly-elected Duterte has gone on a number of verbal tirades against the United States since taking over the presidency for a six-year term in June.
He has called US President Barack Obama a “son of a whore” and lambasted the United States for criticizing his signature war on crime, which has sparked human rights concerns over as many as 3,000 extrajudicial killings.
“The Americans, I don’t like them… they are reprimanding me in public. So I say: ‘Screw you, fuck you’,” he said in his latest outburst on Sunday.
Duterte, a tough-on-crime former mayor of Davao City, has pledged to implement the successful yet brutal tactics used in that southern island city to wipe the Philippines clean of drugs and drug dealers.
Over the weekend, the firebrand president controversially said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug users in the country.