THE United States has been supporting anti-drug campaigns in the Philippines but in a “humane way,” the US ambassador to Manila said on Wednesday.
Philip Goldberg added that Washington has sent American agents to train with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and share best practices with them on combating illegal drugs.
He said the US worked with Philippine authorities in “big seizures” of illegal drugs at the premier Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“We support the efforts to eradicate drugs but in a humane way,” Goldberg said in a radio interview. “We cooperate a lot… We are not new to this.”
The US, along with the European Union and the United Nations, had been the subject of expletive-laden rants of tough-talking President Rodrigo Duterte for supposedly criticizing his so-called “war on drugs” that has killed thousands of drug suspects.
According to the Philippine President, the US criticizes him instead of helping him address the widespread problem on illegal drugs.
“Mr. [Barack] Obama, you can go to hell,” he said in an extemporaneous speeches. “I have lost respect for the US.”
Goldberg, who was once also insulted by Duterte, insisted that he was not taking the President’s remarks personally.
“I’m not in the Philippines as an individual. I am a diplomat representing my country. I have to be ready for anything,” he said, adding that Obama was also “taking everything in stride” because “he’s a very civil man, a dignified President.”
Still, the ambassador, who is winding up his three-year tour of duty, maintained that Filipinos are among the warmest people he has met.
“I’ve been here for three years. My government is now calling me,” he said. “It’s been a great experience. We have done a lot of things in our bilateral relations.”
He expressed hope that the “very good, historic” relations between the two countries would remain strong and unbreakable despite the controversies.
“The alliance should continue but we can’t control everything,” Goldberg said.