US ties with PH to remain strong, says American Army attaché
PALO, Leyte — The Philippine-US relations remain strong as the United States government continues to assist the country despite verbal attacks from President Duterte.
Col. Kevin Wolfla, Army attaché of the US Embassy in Manila who represented the US government during the 72nd Leyte Gulf Landings anniversary on Thursday here, made this assessment and added that his government would stay committed to its strong relations with the Philippines.
“The United States remains committed to our relationship with the Philippines. We are aware of the statements of the President,” Wofla said during an interview.
Mr. Duterte has said that his administration will charter an independent foreign policy but at the same time, it has threatened to sever the country’s long-standing military and economic ties with the US, Philippines’ closest Western ally. Duterte said that the Philippine-US relations have always worked to the benefit of the superpower alone and have had an overall negative impact on the economic development of the Philippines.
But Wolfla said that his government would continue to help the country during disasters, as they did when Eastern Visayas was devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” on November 8, 2013.
The US provided $143 million worth of assistance to the Philippines for its recovery and rehabilitation work in Eastern Visayas, particularly Tacloban City and Leyte, the hardest hit by the supertyphoon.
Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla expressed appreciation for the presence of Wolfla during this year’s Leyte Gulf Landings held at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park at Barangay Baras, Palo town.
“We really appreciate that the US Embassy sent its representative. They are really an ally,” Petilla said.
Asked if she favored President Duterte’s move to sever military and economic ties with the US, Petilla said that she was not against the Duterte administration’s move to establish stronger ties with countries like China, but it would not be alright if the government lost its friendship with the US.
“I still believe that we have a strong relationship with the US. They have helped us a lot during Yolanda,” she said.
Also present during the commemoration of the historic event that led to the country’s liberation were Capt. Brad White, defense attaché of Australian Embassy, Minister Atsushi Ueno, deputy chief of mission and head of the political section of the Japan Embassy and Major Gen. Raul de Rosario, commanding general of the Philippine Army.
The provincial government had invited President Duterte to grace the occasion but the President is now in China for his four-day state visit there. SFM
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