Duterte statements stirring global concern – US official


THE United States’ top diplomat for Asia on Monday warned that the controversial statements of President Rodrigo Duterte has stirred concern not only in the US but in other countries as well.

 Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel held an hour-long closed-door meeting with Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. yesterday to air Washington’s concern on the Duterte’s tirades against the US, particularly his statement last week about the Philippines’ separation from the US.

“The succession of controversial statements, comments and a real climate of uncertainty about the Philippines’ intentions have created consternation in a number of countries,” Russel said. “Not only in mine and not only among governments, but also growing concern in other communities, in the expat Filipino community, in corporate boardrooms as well. This is not a positive trend.”

The discussion came on the heels of Duterte’s announcement that he was breaking the Philippines’ military and economic ties with the US.

“President Duterte has already worked out and explained the comment about separation from the US. He described it as reference to maintaining independent foreign policy. Well, if separation means that the government in Manila makes its own foreign policy decisions based on its own assessment of the Philippines’ national interest, then there’s no need for change,” Russel said.

“If it’s the policy of the Philippines to honor its constitution and make its own decisions on the basis of autonomy, independence and self-reliance, that’s consistent

with the way that the United States and the Philippines have been as partners, as allies.”

Russel also expressed concern on the wave of killings in connection with the administration’s war on drugs.
The official underscored the importance of placing due process and respect for the rights of people as an important part of protecting the community. He clarified, however, that the US continues to support the Philippines’ anti-drug drive.

“I candidly shared with the Foreign Secretary [that]your friends are also concerned about the loss of lives in connection with the counter-narcotics campaign. We strongly support the efforts against the scourge of drugs,” Russel said.

“The growing uncertainty about this issue is bad for business as well. This is a very competitive region. The Philippines’ advantage as US partner, with strong institutions and respect for rule of law has served it very well. We think that’s something worth protecting,” he added.

Russel said the US welcomes the warming relations between the Philippines and China, adding that Kerry supports dialogue and negotiations between the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) claimants.

The official said Washington does not believe that the Philippines’ improving ties with China comes at the expense of the US.

“We don’t want countries to have to choose between the US and China, but we do want countries to be able to
choose, to have choices, to have autonomy, to make their own decisions in keeping with their own democratic values and in keeping with international law,” he said.

Yasay described his meeting with Russel as “fruitful.”

“We were both happy when we came out of the meeting. I’m sure both sides were satisfied about what we did but that’s not the end of it all. We will continue to engage ourselves in dialogue and discussions to make sure that we will know exactly where our relationship, what areas it will strengthen and we can move forward in strengthening [the relationship],” he said.


SYMBOL OF FRIENDSHIP US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg pours champagne on the C-130T cargo plane that was turned over to the Philippine Air Force on Monday. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

SYMBOL OF FRIENDSHIP US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg pours champagne on the C-130T cargo plane that was turned over to the Philippine Air Force on Monday. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

Phillip Goldberg, US Ambassador to Manila, echoed Russel’s statement, saying Duterte’s “separation” declaration against the US was disturbing.

“We of course are seeking more information about what exactly that means and so we are also concerned as this. But we have a great commitment to the Philippines, and the people of the Philippines. We have a great alliance and a great friendship and so that is why we are seeking clarification because from our part, or on our part, we have a very strong sense that the Philippines is an ally, a friend and we have a strong commitment to its defense, to our mutual defense treaty,” he said.

The US ambassador was at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City Monday to attend the blessing of the second C-130 cargo plane bought by the Philippine government from the US.

Besides Duterte’s separation statement that he announced before a group of Chinese businessmen in Beijing, Goldberg said the US government is also seeking clarification on the status of the cooperation and agreements that the two countries had.

“We need to explore and we’re willing to discuss it in a very constructive way but some of the language we’ve heard is not at all consistent,” the envoy added.

“We’ve always treated the Philippines as a coequal. It’s a sovereign country and you make decisions on where, what you believe is in the interest of the Philippines. We don’t believe for example that because you want better relations with other countries, that it’s a zero sum game and that the United States, which is an old friend and ally of the Philippines, it needs to be, to decide in the process,” he said.

The ambassador said the US believes that all countries in the region should have good relations, including China.

America, he explained, has a hugely important relationship with China and “we think other countries should as well.”

He called Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s warning that the US may oust Duterte because of his anti-US stance absurd.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Tigilan na nitong si assistant secretary Russel ang drama. Kung talagang nag aalala ang Amerika sa kalagayan ng Pilipinas, hindi salita na mala tele serye ang gawin nila. Sa halip pantayan o higitan nila ang alok na tulong ng China at Russia at dito makikitang talagang seryoso silang umasenso ang Pilipinas na sinasabi nilang napaka lapit sa kanila. Kung panay daldal lang at tatakutin pa tayo ng walang katwirang Human Rights Violations na palagi nilang ginagamit para ikatwiran ang puwersahan na pagpasok nila, ay talagang walanghiyaan at bastusan na itong ginagawa sa atin nitong mga Amerik

  2. According to the research/book of Fritz Springmier, the Russel’s are illuminati, like the Rockefellers or Rothschilds, their objective is a global satanic world order. The Russel and Sturgis Co. did trading in Manila and opened up, China and the orient, they also traded in illegal drugs, their ships, “opium clippers.”

    One Russel ancestor founded the US Chapter of “Skull and Bones,” which took over American politics, he was partner of Warren Delano, who built his wealth on Philippine sugar, he was the grandfather of US Pres. FDR.

    Read Fitz Springmiers book, the Russels are one of the 13 satanic families trying to control world events.

  3. “Warned, disturbing, uncertainties, controversial statements…etc. These are words coming from them not from us, Filipinos… Its they who are not making positive words. Its time we should carve our nation’s destiny, national interest paramount and supreme over all the other nations, that’s the essence of true nationalism.

  4. Great Job,Tatay Digong. If the Western nation esp. US knows how to play game, so be it.. The stragedy of our new President is working.. He gambles and played very well.. Go go go tatay, Digong the yellow Liberal party were loosing and we will try , the filipino people to UNSEAT THEM FOREVER in our future election.. Now, the Americans were very upset. they didnt expect it. Anyway more surprises will come from our clever President Duterte. Those who were afraid of loosing these Western economics turn, were not Filipino. They cannot stand at their own feet.
    God BLess Philippines with President digong..Mabuhay Filipino. Kung talagang Filipino ka, dapat may pakialam ka. FILIPINO FIRST.

  5. while smiling, holding meetings, and pretending, they are now plotting against the president. indeed, they have been pressuring the expat community, the bpo companies, et.al. to lobby for them, making threats of loss of business, etc. they have also been working the politicians, especially the corrupt.

  6. Thank you for the information! To the US Assistant Secretary Daniel Russel: Your talk comes too strong, the veiled threats against President Duterte is clear and you don’t have to mention Erap’s warning that President Duterte may be ousted as absurd for the US has been doing it for ages with allies that don’t follow US foreign policy and there’s no need to mention those countries which have suffered. Mr. Russel on paper the US is good to look at, but the track records show otherwise! Enough is enough!

  7. It is about time time the US told this international clown (looking for international recognition without the intelligence and know how, a small town hick talking crap) to shut up and put out. Should go back to addressing the PH extreme poverty. Can’t even address the PH traffic issue. Who the hell is this clown trying to tie in with the chinks and Putin. He has nothing to offer that the Chinks and Russia don’t already have, except bananas.

    • duterte is not a clown…hes a psycopath who is dangerously irresponsible…must be stopped asap..unfortunately…many filipinos are stupid…so God help our country pls

  8. As an Anglo-American with a son who lives in the Philippines and a person who has many business dealings with the Philippines, I see Duarte’s aggressive stance against crime as positive. The Philippines has a reputation of having a fair amount of corruption and that worries US businesses. I am not offended by the heavy hand applied against drug businesses either. If it is a war on drugs, then war has soldiers who die in the conflict.

    What is bothersome is that Duarte seems to want to mimic Venezuela in his Socialist rants. Venezuela lasted for a short time because it had oil, but the policies of a socialist dictatorship have now played out and we see the destruction of a once-beautiful nation all because of socialist policies that fed more egos than it fed people.

    Duarte needs to simmer down. It is the same reason why the United States will not elect Donald Trump. The leaders of countries must be careful to offend friend and allies because the world is a very big place when you try to stand all alone. Should Duarte cut off the Philippines from the US, then it will also cut off the $17 Billion that comes from the Filipinos who live and work in the United States. That is also a million people now cut off from their homes.

    I can appreciate his desire to see the Philippines stand on its own and be more like Taiwan, but Taiwan has an outstanding relationship with the United States. The Philippines has an important history with the U.S. that these other Asian countries do not. It should use that history to improve trade and improve relations, not beat its chest and jump off a cliff.

    Fools are as fools do.

  9. When Mayor Estrada opens his mouth, it should be taken with a grain of salt. An ex-convict can not be trusted.

    • He has been elected to the presidency of the Philippines and the mayor of Manila isn’t it?

      I thought his foreign policy of strengthening Eastern and southeastern Asia cooperation was very sound.