The United States has committed to provide a $180-million financial assistance to the Philippines, despite the recent strong remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte to US President Barack Obama. According to US State Department spokesman John Kirby, the said amount is set for fiscal year 2017, which is from October 1, 2016 to September. 30, 2017.
“We continue to focus on our broad relationship with the Philippines and we’ll work together in the many areas of mutual interest. To ensure assistance earmarked for law enforcement is not used in extrajudicial killings, the US government routinely and regularly vet security forces through a process known as “Leahy vetting.” Kirby said in a statement.
“It’s a law we strongly believe in. And whether it’s in the Philippines or anywhere around the world, that review process is near continuous and it will remain so.” He added, noting that the military-to-military relationship between the countries remains strong, and that US is taking seriously with its alliance with the Philippines, considering some controversies.
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As the whole world probably knows, President Duterte has been consistently declaring that his administration will pursue independent foreign policy. This includes rejecting any interference from any foreign government, particular from the US. Just last Wednesday, President Duterte told President Obama to go to hell, because US failed the Philippines.
In his angry remarks, President Duterte said that US should stop criticizing the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines in his battle against illegal drugs. He even dared to end its assistance to the country, and that the country is not gaining anything from the joint war games with the US. The president noted that he would rather go to US or Russia for help.
In line with this, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana echoed President Duterte’s statement, saying that the Philippine military can easily ask Congress to compensate the possible loss of $50-$100 million a year as aid from the US. Likewise, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. said he agrees with the proposed independence from the US.