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Fair-weather friend? Kerry cancels Manila trip

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From left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III join hands as they pose for a group photo at East Asia Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. AP

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei—With Tropical Storm “Santi” threatening the Philippines, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday called off a planned visit to Manila but promised to make the trip there later in the year.

Santi (international name: Nari) was expected to make landfall on Saturday on the northeastern coast of Luzon, about 150 kilometers north of Manila.

On Thursday, it was packing maximum winds of 120 km per hour and bringing heavy rain and strong winds to large parts of the Philippines.

Kerry, who had been drafted in to take over US President Barack Obama’s trip through Asia that was canceled due to the US government shutdown, blamed the postponement of his visit to Manila on Santi.

Pilots’ decision

“Because of the judgment of our pilots and the airlines… and the approaching [storm], we are going to postpone the trip that I was going to make to the Philippines,” Kerry told reporters on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, one of the meetings in the 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit here.

“I’m sorry not to be there in the next day or so but the good news is, I am absolutely committed to returning in a month or so,” Kerry said.

“I’m coming back to the region and I look forward to visiting… our friends in the Philippines,” he said.

Aquino told

Kerry said he had informed President Aquino of the postponement of his trip to Manila.

Kerry was scheduled to arrive in Manila on Friday and meet Aquino in Malacañang for discussions of defense and other US-Philippines concerns, including an agreement for increased rotations of US troops in the Philippines.

Kerry proceeded to Malaysia after the East Asia Summit here on Thursday.

“This is a big storm. Obviously, storms can change paths at the last minute. We wish the people of the Philippines safety and their well-being is our concern in the next days,” Kerry said.

He made his announcement at a news conference with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who expressed regret.

“We regret the postponement of Secretary Kerry’s visit to Manila,” Del Rosario said. “We, of course, are eager to welcome Secretary Kerry.”

Kerry said he wanted to “emphasize the strength of our relationship,” describing US-Philippine ties as “literally unbreakable.”

Promise

Del Rosario said Kerry had “promised” President Aquino that he would come to Manila before the year ends.

Smiling, Del Rosario told Kerry: “See you then.”

In Manila, Malacañang confirmed the postponement of Kerry’s visit.

“Secretary del Rosario and Secretary Kerry held a joint press conference [on Thursday] where they announced that [due to an approaching storm] the… visit of [Secretary Kerry] will be rescheduled anytime before the end of the year,” the Palace said in a statement.

“We understand and look forward to his visit,” the Palace said.

Santi’s lashing of the northeastern parts of Luzon could change the course of Kerry’s plane as he returns to the United States on Saturday.

Moving westward

As of 4 p.m. on Thursday, Santi was located 490 km east of Baler, Aurora province, moving westward at 15 kph with center winds of 95 kph and gusting at 120 kph, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

The weather bureau raised storm Signal No. 1, indicating wind speeds of 30-60 kph, over the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Isabela, Aurora and Quezon, Polilio Island and Camarines Norte province.

Pagasa said Santi would bring moderate to intense rainfall (5-20 millimeters per hour) in areas within its 400-km diameter.

The weather bureau advised residents of areas under Signal No. 1 to watch out for flash floods and landslides.

Sea travel is risky off the seaboards in Eastern Visayas, Pagasa said.—With reports from Michael Lim Ubac, DJ Yap, AFP and Matikas Santos, INQUIRER.net

Originally posted at 3:23 p.m.

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  • Guest15

    I think the Republicans will be more reliable as a friend for the Philippines than the Democrats.

  • Imeldita

    Filipinos – ang kalaban natin ay ang mga magnanakaw ng buwis. Hayaan nyo si Kerry, para tayong namamalimos sa oras nya. Pathetic!

  • hello stupids

    look at the photo!!!!
    he is looking down and not looking at anybody !!!!!
    look like he got kick in his guts
    HAHAHHAHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    .

    • Punyëtero»Ka

      Any small thing that will be construed as an advantage to exploit, your UNEDUCATED mind tries to do, chink pig! No useful argument as you’re of no use to anybody! LOL!

      • hello stupids

        Any small thing that will be construed as an advantage to exploit?
        that’s right.than U puzzle them together and U will have the answer

        A DODO will never get that
        STUPIDSssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        See, now just copy-pastes because you’re so UNEDUCATED, you can only copy what I said, read your conclusion “that’s right.than U puzzle them together and U will have the answer”. What kind of chinklish gibberish is that not fit even to wipe your drooling saliva! & you have the nerve to post that crap? Moron retard! LOL!!

      • hello stupids

        the more U post the more lies U going to get caught
        LIAR…
        how tall R U ? why don’t U hissing now?

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Just listen to that chinklish blabber! It’s worse than babbling coming from a pig about to be slaughtered! You should be too, for what you are so shameless to display, you UNEDUCATED poor “millionaire”! Look at your posts, see who hisses, congenital lying moron! Motherfocking demented idiotic chink pig! LOL!

  • KapitanBagwis

    Who need him here. Even in the USA Kerry is unwanted.

  • quenchy

    The title of this article is misleading and narrow minded. Sec. Kerry obviously canceled his trip as he knows what kind of effect and damage typhoons have on the Philippines (torrential downpours, flooding, hurricane like winds, loss of power). Just imagine what it would be like if he did do his visit. He would be stuck in the flooding, all his meetings would be late or even canceled. Plus he adds a burden to the Phil government as their first priority is to assist with typhoon ravaged provinces and cities. Good call then to postpone his trip to next month when he is in the region again visiting Vietnam

    • elephant_walk

      the writer thought that he’s bring clever with this tongue-in-cheek title. not funny though…

  • RCB

    Wow. I regularly visit various Internet news portals all over the world and would almost always read comments from its readers just to get a feel of the reaction from its readers. Some have comments that show the intelligence, diplomacy and respect towards the other readers’ opinions/comments. Others, well, not so much.

    This one takes the cake. Never have I read so many insults and name-calling being thrown at one another as in this Philippine news portal. In fact, not just in this Philippine news portal – but other Philippine news portals as well. So brave. Is it because of the comfort and the invisibility provided for by writing behind the keyboard? Or is this something that’s just embedded in the Filipino DNA? I know that by writing this comment I, myself, would be attacked with insults and would probably be name-called as well. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    My wife and I have two children and I only need to read the comments from this portal to show my kids an example of savage name-calling. My mind shudders just thinking that my kids could grow up with such verbal/written savagery. Anyway, I am just writing this piece to let the readers (especially the people writing comments here) know that people from all over the world also visit this news portal and that the comments do not reflect any positive light on the Philippines in general, and on Filipinos in particular. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • RCB

    Wow. I regularly visit various Internet news portals all over the world and would almost always read comments from its readers just to get a feel of the reaction from its readers. Some have comments that show the intelligence, diplomacy and respect towards the other readers’ opinions/comments. Others, well, not so much.

    This one takes the cake. Never have I read so many insults and name-calling being thrown at one another as in this Philippine news portal. In fact, not just in this Philippine news portal – but in other Philippine news portals as well. So brave. Is it because of the comfort and the invisibility provided for by writing behind the keyboard? Or is this something that’s just embedded in the Filipino DNA? I know that by writing this comment I, myself, would be attacked with insults and would probably be name-called as well. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    My wife and I have two children and I only need to read the comments from this portal to show my kids an example of savage name-calling. My mind shudders just thinking that my kids could grow up with such verbal/written savagery. Anyway, I am just writing this piece to let the readers (especially the people writing comments here) know that people from all over the world also visit this news portal and that the comments do not reflect any positive light on the Philippines in general, and on Filipinos in particular. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • RCB

    Wow. I regularly visit various Internet news portals all over the world and would almost always read comments from its readers just to get a feel of the reaction from its readers. Some have comments that show the intelligence, diplomacy and respect towards the other readers’ opinions/comments. Others, well, not so much.
    This one takes the cake. Never have I read so many insults and name-calling being thrown at one another as in this Philippine news portal. In fact, not just in this Philippine news portal – but in other Philippine news portals as well. So brave. Is it because of the comfort and the invisibility provided for by writing behind the keyboard? Or is this something that’s just embedded in the Filipino DNA? I know that by writing this comment I, myself, would be attacked with insults and would probably be name-called as well. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    My wife and I have two children and I only need to read the comments from this portal to show my kids an example of savage name-calling. My mind shudders just thinking that my kids could grow up with such verbal/written savagery.
    Anyway, I am just writing this piece to let the readers (especially the people writing comments here) know that people from all over the world also visit this news portal and that the comments do not reflect any positive light on the Philippines in general, and on Filipinos in particular. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • stealth ice

    The writer is trying to grab the attention of the readers. I think PDI should spend some money to send their reporters to a training on media ethics.



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