American tourists may soon be in trouble entering the Philippines without proper documentation after President Duterte said he would require them travel visa.
For President Rodrigo Duterte, perhaps “it’s about time” Americans too apply for visa when visiting the Philippines, like Filipinos do when they go to the United States.
Speaking in front of the Filipino community in Beijing on Wednesday, Duterte said he was once denied a visa to visit his girlfriend in the US back when he was in college.
He recalled, a consul asked him during application: “What if you decide to marry and stay there?”
“Mr. Consul, even if you offer me free missiles for a lifetime and even if you offer me $10,000, I’ll still return to my country and be a Filipino,” he replied.
Mayor Agustin Perdices of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, also experienced “humiliation” after being denied a visa despite an invitation for a month-long study under the auspices of the USAID, added Duterte.
“Pero sila anytime, they enter the Philippines visa-free. Well, there will always be a time for reckoning. Bakit hindi natin tablahin?,” he said, earning applause from the crowd.
(But they can enter the Philippines anytime, visa-free. Well, there will always be a time for reckoning. Why don’t we do the same?)
In a speech at a business forum on Thursday, Duterte reiterated his point, citing an experience during his last visit to the United States, which he said showed “American idiotic arrogance.”
He said that during a stopover at the Los Angeles airport after a visit with other Philippine congressmen to Brazil, he was questioned by an African-American officer after his letter of authority to travel turned up missing.
Duterte, who was using a diplomatic passport, said the letter was addressed to the port of entry in Brazil and was probably not reinserted in his passport after he left.
“You know this guy brought me to a room to interrogate me…I said, if you detain me any further and if there’s a plane available going back to the Philippines now, I’d be happy to ride.”
“That was the last time I went to America,” he stated.
He added: “Maybe sometime soon the Americans come to my country for business and all, including pedophilia. And they come to my country sans a visa, they do not need it, they go there as if they own the place.”
Filipinos who go to America and who have the money, said Duterte, “are not just only berated in the visa control, in the consular office; they are humiliated.”
Asking if there was any American in the crowd, Duterte said, ” If you are planning to go to my country, you get a visa from where you come from. Maybe… It’s about time.”
Duterte’s statements come on the heels of his apparent shift from the country’s ally Washington to its neighbor Beijing.
He had earlier said, it was “time to say goodbye” to the US, adding he was fed up with Western agenda.
“Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend,” he said.