US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has likened President Rodrigo Duterte’s style of governance to that of US President Donald Trump, the Palace said Friday.
During a courtesy call by Pompeo at the Palace, Duterte shared stories about the controversies he stirred up since assuming the office in 2016, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“He [Pompeo] is very fond of the President and I remember when the President was talking about what he is doing for this country, including his controversial policies and even the cursing, the secretary of state said, ‘You’re just like our President.’ We all laughed,” Panelo said during a press briefing.
With their harsh rhetoric, Trump and Duterte have made international headlines, highlighting their unconventional style of leadership.
Both leaders have also expressed their admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Duterte called the Russian leader his “idol,” while Trump said Putin was a “better leader” than his predecessor, former US President Barack Obama.
Panelo said the President has not yet accepted an invitation to visit the United States.
“He did not say anything because the problem with the President is he cannot stand the temperature in the US. It’s very cold. He would have a difficult time and it’s too far. He doesn’t like long haul trips,” Panelo said.
On Thursday evening, the President met with Pompeo at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City where they reaffirmed the strength of Philippines-US alliance.
“The President highlighted prospects of stronger and more meaningful ties with the United States, particularly on defense and security, peace and order, regional stability, as well as the rule of law in the conduct of activities in the West Philippine Sea to prevent escalation of tensions among countries involved,” Panelo said in a statement.
Pompeo, on the other hand, expressed confidence in the strength of the Philippine-US ties.
“He [Pompeo] also reaffirmed their country’s commitment to strengthen cooperation and deepen engagement with the Philippines on matters of mutual interest and common concern at the regional and global arena, including the rule of law and need for a rules-based regime in the West Philippine Sea,” Panelo added.
The President also discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in countering terrorism and violent extremism.
Two weeks ago, the Palace announced that the US government will provide P300-million intelligence support to the Philippines to boost the country’s capabilities in fending off terrorism.
Panelo said the support shows the country is on good terms with the United States.
Duterte also relayed his gratitude to the US for the return of Balanginga bells. In December 2018, the US Department of Defense returned the historic Balangiga bells to the country as a sign of “healing and closure” between the two countries.
Warns against entering deals with Chinese telco
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Friday warned the Philippines and other nations against using technology from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei amid allegations that the company could be used by the Chinese government for spying.
Globe Telecom plans to roll out with Huawei commercial 5G services this year, while the Duterte administration last year signed an $400-million deal for Huawei to install closed-circuit television cameras in two Philippine cities to deter crime.
US officials suspect that Beijing could use the Shenzhen-based Huawei’s products to spy on Western governments, and Philippine lawmakers have expressed similar concerns. The company denies the allegations.
On Friday, Pompeo said using Huawei technology carried risks.
“We want to make sure that the world has their eyes wide open as to the risks of having that technology be part of the infrastructure or backbone or networks,” Pompeo said.
“We believe that competition, whether it’s in 5G or some other technology, ought to be open, free, transparent and we worry that Huawei is not that.”
Pompeo also said American companies were the “best partners” in developing a digital economy because they were transparent and adhered to the rule of law.
“The same can not be said for Chinese state-run or state-backed enterprises,” he said.
“America may not be able to operate in certain environments if there is Huawei technology adjacent to that,” he said.
“Our task has been to share with the world the risks associated with that technology, the risks to the Philippine people, [and] the risks to Philippine security,” he said. With AFP