PH and US ‘reaffirm’ ties despite intel report on Duterte
The Philippines and the United States have “reaffirmed” their bilateral relationship despite the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report released by the US Intelligence Community which tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as a “threat” to democracy.
In a statement on Friday, the US Embassy in Manila said that Ambassador Sung Kim met with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to discuss the intelligence report, which was published by US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats on February 12.
“On February 22, Ambassador Sung Kim met with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to discuss the recently released Worldwide Threat Assessment Report published by the Director of National Intelligence,” the US Embassy said.
The US Embassy said the discussion between Kim and Medialdea included a clarification that “the information about the Philippines had been previously reported by media sources.”
“Ambassador Kim explained the nature of the report – an annual assessment on conditions in each of the world’s various regions based on widely available information,” the US Embassy said.
Kim and Medialdea also discussed “shared interests and possibilities” for expanding the partnership of both countries, the Embassy added.
“The United States will continue to collaborate with the government of the Philippines. The meeting ended with both Executive Secretary Medialdea and Ambassador Kim reaffirming the strength of the broad and deep bilateral relationship,” it added.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment Report noted that Duterte “will continue to wage his signature campaign against drugs, corruption, and crime.”
“Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a ‘revolutionary government,’ and impose nationwide martial law,” the report added.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment Report also cited a Freedom House report that listed the Philippines as one of the governments that use social media to spread propaganda, shape public opinion and counter criticisms of government online.
“We note that more governments are using propaganda and misinformation in social media to influence foreign and domestic audiences,” it read.
However, Palace spokesman Harry Roque denied the report, stressing that Duterte has no autocratic tendencies and that he follows the rule of law and the Constitution.
“An autocracy is not prevalent, as they would like everyone to believe. Our media are still able to broadcast and print what they want — ‘fake news’ included,” Roque said.
“There is no revolutionary government or nationwide martial law, which US intelligence officials are saying that the President might declare or impose,” he added. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.