President Duterte clarifies: Statement not an attack on Pres. Obama, maintain relationship with us

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VIENTIANE, Laos, Sept. 6 (PNA) — The Philippine government expressed deep regrets, deep regard and affinity for US President Barack Obama and the enduring partnership between both nations.

The government’s statement was read by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar before the members of the international media present at the National Convention Center here, who are covering the three-day summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The statement said, “ President Rodrigo Duterte today affirmed that he continues to value the alliance with United States noting that both our countries share common goals and their pursuit against illegal drugs, terrorists, crime and poverty. “

Andanar read, “He also thank President Obama for his firm support FOR the Philippines during the G20 where President Obama emphasized the importance for China to abide by its obligation under international law and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security of this treaty island.

How did the statement start

After President Duterte’s departure speech before he flew to Laos from Davao, he replied to a question from an international wire agency asking how he would respond to a question of President Obama on extrajudicial killings.

President Duterte’s reply was , “You know, the Philippines is not a vassal state. We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States. Alam mo, marami diyan, sa mga kolumnista, they look upon Obama and the United States as if we are the lap dogs of their country. I do not respond to anybody but to the people of the Republic of the Philippines.

He added, “I am not beholden to anybody. Iyong mga kolumnista diyan na ‘wait until he meets,’ who is he? I am a President of the sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master, except the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody.”

All the President tried to relay was he is not answerable to another country for doing his job as President of the Philippines. His accountability is not on anybody except to the Filipinos. And even President Obama is not allowed to meddle into the affairs of the Philippines, and how he does his job to rid the country of the illegal drug crisis, to address terrorism and to cleanse the government of corruption.

Since his entry in government, the President had been firm in his stand that the internal affairs of the country should be handled solely by the Philippine government and does not want any foreign country to meddle.

Andanar further read that President Duterte explains that the press report that President Obama would lecture him on Extra Judicial Killings led to his strong statement which elicited negative perceptions.

“He regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy while asserting the intent to chart an independent foreign policy and promote closer ties with all nations, he expressed his deep regret, regard and affinity and for the enduring partnership between our nations. President Duterte looks forward to ironing out difference arising out of the national priorities, perceptions and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries.”

Duterte stressed that in securing the lives and liberty of our people, it is imperative that the fight against illegal drugs, terrorists, crimes and poverty must be on in order to preserve the principle and values upon which the Philippines’ democratic way of life is anchored.

Meeting reset

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella who read the personal statement of the President in relation to the issue said that “the meeting between the US and the Philippines was mutually agreed upon to be moved to a later date.

“While the immediate cause was my strong comment to certain press questions, we regret that it has come across as a personal attack on President Obama.”

Abella read, “the primary intent was to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with other nations, especially the US with whom we have a long standing partnership.

The President though Abella said that he is looking forward to ironing out the differences and work on a mutually responsible ways to thresh out the problem.

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