The United States continue to focus on its broad relationship with the Philippines despite a statement made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte that he wanted American forces out of Mindanao.
Molly Koscina, the US Embassy information officer, said this yesterday when sought for a reaction after the Chief Executive called on the US to withdraw its Special Forces from southern Philippines.
In a speech in Malacañang on Monday, Duterte also blamed the US for inflaming Muslim insurgencies in the region.
Koscina said they are aware reports from the press quoting Duterte, but stressed that there has been no official communication coming from the Philippine government on the matter.
“We have seen the reports regarding statements from President Duterte on US forces in the Philippines. We have not been officially contacted by Philippine authorities regarding these statements,” she told the Manila Bulletin.
And despite the President’s statements, the US said it remains committed to its alliance with the Philippines.
“We continue to focus on our broad relationship with the Philippines, and will work together in many areas of mutual interest, including counter terrorism, to improve the livelihoods of the Filipino people and uphold our shared democratic values,” said Koscina.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman John Kirby also said that the US will remain committed to its alliance commitments in the Philippines.
“We have a long, productive history with the Philippines. I understand that it’s not a history without its past troubles, but we’re committed to our alliance with the Philippines, and we look forward to working our way through that,” he said in a news briefing in Washington, DC. (ELENA ABEN)