No hu­man rights, EJKs tack­led in Duterte-Trump meet­ing

Tempo - - Front Page - (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)

The is­sue on hu­man rights and al­leged cases of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings were not dis­cussed dur­ing the bi­lat­eral meet­ing of Pres­i­dent Duterte and United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Harry Roque, the two Pres­i­dents had a frank con­ver­sa­tion for at least 40 min­utes where the two lead­ers reaf­firmed the very close ties be­tween the Philip­pines and the US.

“Pres­i­dent Trump specif­i­cally said that he has al­ways been a friend of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion un­like the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions of the United States,” Roque said.

“But he stressed that he can be counted upon as a friend of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he added.

Roque said that the is­sue on hu­man rights was not dis­cussed like Duterte pre­dicted Sun­day. “The is­sue of hu­man rights did not arise, it was not brought up. It was Pres­i­dent Duterte who dis­cussed with US Pres­i­dent Trump the drug men­ace in the Philip­pines,” Roque said.

“The US Pres­i­dent ap­peared sym­pa­thetic and did not have any of­fi­cial po­si­tion on the mat­ter. He was merely nod­ding his head, in­di­cat­ing that he un­der­stood the do­mes­tic prob­lem that we face on drugs,” he added.

Duterte thanked Trump and the Amer­i­can peo­ple for the as­sis­tance they have ex­tended, par­tic­u­larly on com­mu­ni­ca­tions dur­ing the Marawi City con­flict.

Aside from the close Philip­pinesUS ties and the is­sue on drugs, Duterte and Trump also dis­cussed trade be­tween the two coun­tries.

“The Philip­pines ex­pressed a view that they’re ap­pre­cia­tive of the gen­eral sys­tem of pref­er­ence and sug­gested that free trade agree­ment also be con­cluded be­tween the US and the Philip­pines,” Roque said.

The Philip­pines has sought an FTA with the United States fol­low­ing those with Viet­nam and Ja­pan who have not al­ways been al­lies of Amer­ica.

“Pres­i­dent Trump said they will study the mat­ter,” Roque said.

The United States is the Philip­pines’ third largest trad­ing part­ner af­ter China and Ja­pan, ac­cord­ing to Of­fice of the United States Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

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