PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is supportive of US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy placing the interest of the United States above all else, a Malacañang official said on Sunday.
Palace Communications Chief Martin Andanar made the statement after attending Trump’s inauguration in Washington on Friday (Saturday in Manila), with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
“The President of the United States believes in protectionism; ‘America First’…encourages the other nations to serve the interests of their own people. US President Trump and President Duterte share that policy. We have an independent foreign policy, and the Philippine President also subscribes to the fact that it is important that we serve the interests of the Filipinos first,” Andanar over state-run radio station dzRB.
“US President Trump also mentioned that he wanted to stop the carnage of the Americans due to illegal drugs. That is the same policy of our President, so it was very comforting to hear the speech of President Trump. They have the same beliefs as President Duterte,” Andanar added.
In his inaugural speech, Trump claimed that too many American citizens experience a harsh reality: “mothers and children trapped in poverty in inner cities; rusted-out factories; an education system flush with cash but leaves students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed the country of so much unrealized potential.”
“We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world—but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow,” Trump said.
Philippine officials said on Saturday the assumption of Trump to power would be an opportunity to improve Manila-Washington relations.
“We view transitions as opportunities to further relations. The US and the Philippines are treaty allies and we are ready to work on bolstering this alliance on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect,” said Patrick Chuasoto, chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Philippine embassy, in a statement.
In November following the US election, Duterte said he had no issues with Trump, but with his predecessor, Barack Obama, who criticized the Philippine government’s bloody crackdown on war.
“It looks like our President and President Trump will get along well, and President Duterte mentioned that when these men talked over the phone last December,” Andanar said on Sunday.