According to GMA News Online, socio-economic expert Peter Wallace said that President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Philippines to be treated as an equal, not only as a subordinate of any country.
“As I interpret what the President is doing, it has been 65 years since we broke away from America as a colony. There’s always been this subservient thinking and he wants to break that," Wallace said.
"He wants to establish that the Philippines is truly an independent country, independent of anyone, and on equal standing to any other country; even if we’re a small country, equal standing to others,” he added.
Wallace is an Australian businessman who came to the Philippines in 1975, he established businesses and because a Filipino citizen in 2015.
“I don’t think he has any intention of breaking away from America. I think he will recognize that the relationship is important but it must now be on equal independent basis… That’s what he is trying to achieve,” Wallace said.
“I don’t see him as trying to divorce himself from America. That would make no sense, right? He’s just trying to establish an equal partnership and that’s a different thing,” he added.
Wallace also defended Duterte’s remarks to US President Barack Obama to “go to hell.”
“I think you know, as I said earlier, firstly I am not sure that there is a hell. I don’t think it exists, actually. But again, it’s his manner of speaking, right?" Wallace said.
"It’s his expressionism. He doesn’t mean for Obama to go to hell, right? It’s just the way he talks, right?” he added.
Wallace believes that the people in the White House are smart enough to understand Duterte's statement.
“I’m not sure that the foreign community will ever be able to understand it but I think people in the US government will, right? I think the people in the White House are smart enough to know that what he’s saying is not what he intends,” Wallace said. [source]