President Rodrigo R. Duterte welcomed the US-Philippines Society in Manila
Malacañan Palace, Manila – President Rodrigo R. Duterte personally welcomed the Society’s bi-national board, led by Co-chairs Manuel V. Pangilinan and Ambassador John D. Negroponte, during a full, friendly and lively exchange at Malacañan Palace on Tuesday, February 20 that included U.S. Ambassador Sung Y. Kim and Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez.
President Duterte expressed gratitude to the organization for finding time to visit him.
“Let me say that I am very happy sir that you have found time to visit me. We’re in constant touch with the Ambassador and also to see good friends, nice faces, friendly ones,” the President said during the meeting.
The president cited longstanding U.S.-Philippines ties, including a security alliance, conveyed appreciation for American assistance in combatting ISIS-inspired terrorism in Mindanao, and described how his administration’s independent foreign policy aims to expand economic ties with China and others, while maintaining a treaty alliance with the United States. He underscored a continuing commitment to combat the drug epidemic and registered concern for Filipino OFWs.
President Duterte also discussed his November meeting with President Trump in highly positive terms and pronounced the bilateral relationship to be in good shape. Society director Roberto Llames briefly described his technology-based initiative to assist OFWs. Co-chair Negroponte informed the president of the Society’s resolution in support of a return of the Balangiga Bells and thanked him for supporting the US-Philippines Society, noting the high level of cooperation with Ambassador Romualdez and the Philippine Embassy in Washington. For background information on the Balangiga Bells, click on the highlighted link – The Bells of San Lorenzo de Martir, A Desk Guide By Adm Dan McKinnon.
During the meeting, President Duterte was accompanied by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
Also present were US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto, Director and former U.S. Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard, Director Henry B. Howard, and former Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia Jr.