HANDLE WITH CARE:

US Embassy statement, Philippine response

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The public is wondering how our government will respond or react to the statement issued on Friday, August 12, by the United States embassy in Manila, in which it expressed a number of concerns about certain statements made by President Duterte and the phenomenon of extrajudicial killings in the prosecution of the administration’s war on drugs.

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Before saying anything, our government must carefully take note that it is an embassy statement, not a statement of the US Department of State, which would make it an entirely different thing.

The US State Department, which is the equivalent of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, usually comments only on big-picture issues affecting US ties with other countries.

So it is best at this point to treat the embassy statement as an expression of the concerns of the current embassy officials in the country, instead of one encompassing the whole of the Philippines’ highly important relationship with the US.

This is not to suggest that the matter should be taken lightly or dismissed. This is to counsel our government to treat this matter seriously and fashion its response thoughtfully and surely.

The message from the US Embassy should be treated with understanding, because the statement comes from responsible officials of a government that is a close ally and partner of our country.

Both the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President should study the statement carefully and then frame a sound response.

The embassy statement is notable for being punctilious and bare of bombast. It is terse, consisting of only four paragraphs. It studiously avoids mentioning President Duterte by name; although it is crystal clear that the comments that provoked the US embassy to react were made by the incumbent President of the Philippines.

In the statement, the US Embassy raised three issues pertaining to the President and our bilateral relations:

First, our President calling US Ambassador Philip Goldberg “gay” and a “son of a bitch;”

Second, our President characterizing the recent US pledge of $32 million for law enforcement assistance as a way of making amends to the Philippines; and

Third, the reports of hundreds of extrajudicial killings in the country as a result of the President’s war on drugs.

The statement ended with an affirmation of the importance of the bilateral relationship between the US and the Philippines.

We think the response of our government, if it deigns to make a statement in reply, should be similarly concise, to the point and courteous.

If an explanatory statement or diplomacy will suffice to assuage ruffled feelings, this should be done.

Very important also is what the Duterte administration will take away from this awkward business.

The mature view is to remember that our country today serves a strategic and important role in the Asia-Pacific region; and our economy today, because of its recent dynamism, enjoys a very fruitful relationship with many nations and many foreign investors.

This is important to the national future, and it should not be compromised by careless speech and less than correct policy setting.

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4 Comments

  1. matinong pinoy on

    U.S. Embassies around the world are the representatives of the U.S. State Department, and when they say something, it is already cleared at the State Department level. Therefore, the statement given by the U.S. Embassy is an official statement coming from the U.S. State Department. U.S. Embassies normally consists of sections, such as Foreign Affairs section, Economic Section, Security Section, Military Attache section (handles JUSMAG), Consular section, that documents births, deaths, marriages, and more of U.S. citizens in the country.

    What the U.S. is telling us is that, rule of law and human rights must be observed at all cost, and our elected President should start talking and acting like a President, representing the people of the Philippines. Finally, he should no longer wears maong tagalog nor tennis shoes in official functions, such as reviewing troops and keep his hand out of his pockets and let it swing naturally. Idinagdag ko lang ito, lol.

  2. The Great Defiant on

    let us make friends with china rather than America…
    they are playing like some kind of gods ever since…
    the Filipinos are awaken now…

    and who are they to determine our future?
    america is decaying morally and spiritually…

  3. We have to do what is good for the country, and we understand that we can not stand on our own. We have survived our share of calamities with the huge humanitarian efforts from the international community, and we are always grateful for that.

    So how can we tell to the world that we do try to conform to the norms of civilized world and respect every sentient being? That we long for real justice, fair dealings and appreciate the principles and rules that make up the best in humanity, and try to live up to them.

    But for now, given that we have a bad system of governance and runaway justice system, our method of dealing with our problems, are based on the seriousness and urgency of our needs, on what is effective and practical, what tools are available. For a long time, and maybe up to now, we are lead by mostly dishonest, corrupt and incompetent state workers, in all the three government branches – they are the very heavy burdens that have prevented us from progressing.

    This is an extraordinary problem, and what is needed is to apply the only effective solution available. The bad elements will try to use the principles of civilization to try to stop this effort. But since our country is about to burn from external and internal threats, we can not fail in this effort. Otherwise our country might be lost forever. So we have to do what needs to be done, in practical terms – the majority of us ordinary pilipinos understand and desires that, perhaps the rest of the civilized world too.

  4. Reply? Wala, dedma lang dapat. If the US is so pissed off at PRRD then they can send in their CIA assassins to do something about it. That’s how they traditionally manage things.