US praises PH resilience, strength on Independence Day
The United States on Independence Day praised the Philippines for the resilience of its people and reminded the government that it is a “long-standing ally.”
“On behalf of President (Donald) Trump and the American people, congratulations and best wishes to the people of the Republic of the Philippines as you commemorate your 119th independence day on June 12,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
“The United States proudly stands with the Philippines as a long-standing ally, especially as the country confronts challenges associated with terrorism and extremism, including recent attacks in Marawi City and elsewhere,” he added.
“We admire the resilience and strength of Filipino people in battling adversity and building a more prosperous and secure future,” Tillerson said.
He said the US honors “the enduring U.S.-Philippine alliance, built on our shared democratic values, growing commerce, and strong people-to-people ties.”
The relationship of the two countries has improved after the election of US President Donald Trump who praised President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. Duterte seemingly veered away from the US early in his term because of the Obama administration’s criticisms against summary killings in the country.
Duterte has also been vocal in wanting to pursue an independent foreign policy.
However, critics have complained about reports that a US Navy aircraft has provided surveillance for local soldiers in Marawi.
Duterte later said he did not know that the US military has been assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Marawi siege although he said he has already “[given] the power to the defense department.”
US Ambassador Sung Kim told reporters on Monday that it is inappropriate to divulge the “technical details” of the support they are providing to the military.
“All I can say is that this is cooperation that’s continued for some time now. It’s cooperation that’s appreciated by the Philippines’ military,” the ambassador said after the Independence Day celebration at Rizal Park. “It is cooperation that has continued with the knowledge of the Philippine government and the military obviously.” JPV
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