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  • Rodrigo Duterte speaks in front of a communist rebel group New People

    Rodrigo Duterte speaks in front of a communist rebel group New People's Army (NPA) flag in Davao city, southern Philippines, April 25, 2016 | Photo: Reuters

"I will be chartering a course on its own and will not be dependent on the United States," Duterte told a news conference.

Philippines' President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he would pursue an independent foreign policy and would not rely on the Southeast Asian nation's long-time ally, the United States.

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"I will be chartering a course on its own and will not be dependent on the United States," Duterte told a news conference after presenting his cabinet, a day after he was officially proclaimed winner of the May 9 elections.

Duterte, the eccentric former Mayor of Davao, beat presidential hopefuls Mar Roxas and Grace Poe in the first round of the elections. He campaigned on a tough anti-crime platform, but promised to be the archipelago's first "Leftist" President.

His man-of-the-people demeanor tapped into popular disgust with the political establishment over its failure to tackle poverty and inequality despite several uninterrupted years of robust economic growth, as well as numerous corruption scandals that have tainted members of the country's ruling class.

The move signalling distance from U.S. foreign policy will also be popular among many in the country, which has a history of U.S military interventions and a longtime U.S. military presence.

Duterte has also committed to working towards peace agreements with insurgent groups in the country, including the communist New People's Army and Mindanao's Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

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