US GOV’T SUPPORTS PH WAR ON DRUGS: PALACE
MANILA - United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim told President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the US supports the Philippine government's war against illegal drugs, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Kim made the statement when the US envoy and the US-Philippine Society officials paid courtesy call on the President at the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday.
"The conversation centered on the President’s narrative telling them how the drug war affected him and this country, and that he had to declare war on drugs. And he had to do it because he wants to protect and preserve this nation," Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He said that Duterte had explained to them that three million Filipinos have been "enslaved" by the drug problem in the country.
"It has created dysfunctional families; and many crimes have been attributed to the taking of illegal drugs. And the President also told them that he will not stop until the end of his term to end this illegal traffic of prohibited drugs," Panelo said.
“In response, the US Ambassador said that the US government supports the fight against drugs,” Duterte’s spokesperson added.
Duterte said the relationship between the Philippines and US "remains strong", Panelo said.
Panelo said the officials also discussed the return of the Balangiga bells in the country.
The US-Philippines Society officials told Duterte they are appreciative of the warm reception of the people in Balangiga when they visited there, Panelo said.
"Ambassador Kim said in a way he was personally affected by the Balangiga issue because he was present when the President mentioned it, request and/or demanded the return of the Balangiga Bells during the SONA last year," he said.
Present during the courtesy call were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.
The US-Philippines Society officials present were co-chair Manuel Pangilinan, President Amb. John Maisto, US-Philippines Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, Murphy and Associates President Amb. Richard Murphy, Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc. Vice Chairman and CEO Gerardo Borromeo, Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co. Chairman and Managing Partner Carlitos Cruz, Du & Associates Inc. President Lucie Du, US Education Finance Group President and CEO Henry Howard, Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd COO Ronald Hudon, Chevron Indo Asia Business Unit Senior Counsel Winnie Lacanilao, Enterprise Solutions Inc. President and Founder Roberto Llames, IBM Executive for Government and Regulatory Affairs Michael DiPaula-Coyle, and Alpha Technologies Vice President for International and Government Relations Paul Shmotolokha.
According to its website, the US-Philippines Society is an independent, non-partisan, bi-national organization that plays an important role in fostering mutual understanding between the United States and the Philippines. (PNA)