MANILA, Philippines – Donald Trump, United States President-elect was quoted to have said that he understands the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign as a sovereign nation and that the country is ‘doing it the right way’.
“Trump wishes the Philippine government to succeed in its drive against drugs,” President Rodrigo Duterte quoted Trump on his phone call.
President Duterte said on Friday (2 Dec), “The President-elect Trump wishes to extend his warmest regards to the Filipino people. And in just a few minutes, we were talking a lot of things. He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs,”
He said that Trump understood the way they are handling it (the drug issue) and said that there’s nothing wrong in protecting a country.
Duterte said he takes Trump’s remark to mean that the US under Trump would not interfere with the affairs of the Philippines.
The Philippine Star reported, Duterte had called Trump at around 10:30 p.m. (Philippine time which is also the same as Singapore time) on Friday, and the phone conversation lasted for almost 10 minutes.
US, United Nations, European Union and various human rights groups have criticized the way Duterte’s war on drug. Since he took office last July, more than 4,000 drug offenders have been reported killed, both from legitimate police operations or unexplained killings.
For raising human rights concerns over the bloody campaign, the US President Barack Obama had taken criticisms from Duterte. United Nations officials also had not been spared by Duterte’s sharp tongue.
Duterte assured Trump of warm ties with its long-time ally and said he is confident that the latter will be a good US president.
And Duterte has invited Trump to visit the Philippines during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017.
“He (Trump) said that he will try his best to be here (in Philippines). He wants to attend the summit and that would be great for our country,” said Duterte. The Philippines will be hosting the regional meet for the third time.
Trump has also invited Duterte to visit him in the White House next year.
Barack Obama expressed optimism that the relationship between the US and the Philippines would improve under his successor, the Philstar reported.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Obama had told him during the APEC meet in Peru that Duterte and Trump appear to have ‘the same kind of temperament’.
The executive assistant and personal aide of Duterte, who are also the Head of the Presidential Management Staff in the Philippines, Christopher ‘Bong’ Go posted the phone conversation between the two country leaders on his Facebook.
Many Philippine’s netizens are enthusiastic about the news and gave their positive comments on Christoper’s Facebook.