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He says they signify the heroism of the Filipinos who died resisting the US Empire, facing hopeless odds. Over 1 million Filipinos died while a mere 4000 Americans lost their lives. The US promised the Philippines its freedom if they threw out their Spanish colonial masters, then cheated on the deal, killing one third of the population over a number of years. Duterte sees the US as a colonial oppressor to this day, being behind the drugs trade that has destroyed the country’s social fabric, and funding ISIS which has invaded the Southern island of Mindanao, trying to build an Islamic state there to expand across South East Asia.