The president of the Philippines has announced that he believes that the country should change the visa rules applying to American citizens planning to visit the Philippines to make them get a visa before visiting the country.
The controversial comments are a reaction to the fact that Filipinos wanting to visit the United States are required to go through a vigorous process to get a visa. President Alvarez has said that if the USA are not going to consider allowing Filipinos to travel visa free to the United States then American citizens should also be required to have a visa to travel to the Philippines.
Addressing the concern that the move would hit tourism revenues of the country he replied that he did not believe that tourism revenues would be hit that hard as the bulk of tourists to the Philippines were from Korea, China and Japan. This is not however backed up by the official statistics which showed that whilst 1.3 million tourists came from Korea, the second highest numbers were from the United States with almost 800,000 visitors.
The sabre rattling from the president comes amid rising tensions between the two countries since the United States raised concerns over extrajudicial killing of drug suspects in the country and the threat to withdraw aid. The president has said that the US does not understand the drug situation and is angry at the way the United States is treating the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced earlier in October that he planned to ‘separate’ from the United States and would be reaching out the China and Russia to form new diplomatic ties. It seems that the latest announcements regarding visa requirements for United States is part of the wider disagreements between the president and it’s long standing alliance with the United States.