UNITED States Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who is set to end his three-year tour of duty, still has good words for the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s relentless attacks on the US.
“The fundamentals of bilateral cooperation with the Philippines and our relationship with the Filipino people remain strong. Our history of cooperation spans 70 years, and our commitment to this country remains unchanged,” Goldberg told the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) last October 5 at the Manila Hotel.
“The Philippines is a key strategic partner of the United States and our military alliance, development assistance, and commercial cooperation continue. Much like you, we are relying on strong ties developed through our common endeavors as well as building effective relationships with new partners to ensure productive future cooperation,” he said in his last official address to Americans doing business in the Philippines.
Goldberg thanked the AmCham leadership, citing their contributions to disaster relief and development, education and the environment.
AmCham, he noted, had been an effective voice of American business in the Philippines.
Goldberg had been at the receiving end of Duterte’s tirades over US criticism of the government’s bloody war on illegal drugs.
The American diplomat, who replaced Harry Thomas Jr. on December 2, 2013, will be succeeded by Sung Kim, the US State department expert on Korea.
On Friday, Malacañang said that instead of criticizing the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, the United States and the European Union should help the Philippines in addressing its illegal drug problem.
In a radio interview, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar explained that President Duterte
was “standing for the right of every Filipino” while “opening our doors to other countries who may want to work with the Philippines in mutually beneficial ways.”
In a speech in Butuan City on Thursday, Duterte dared foreign donors to withdraw their aid to the Philippines.
“I do not expect human rights [advocates], I do not expect [US President Barack Obama], I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me. And if you think it’s high time for you to withdraw assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it,” Duterte said.