US stands firm on human rights issues in Philippines
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - September 7, 2016 - 11:33am

MANILA, Philippines — The United States maintained that it will not soften its criticism about human rights concerns and drug issues in the Philippines.

US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said that Washington is willing to have a conversation with the Philippines regarding its concerns about human rights.

"President [Rodrigo] Duterte may disagree with us strongly on that, and that’s part of the conversation of – between allies and partners that take place on – with a number of countries around the world," Toner said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

READ: Obama to bring up drug war if meet with Duterte pushes through

Toner added hat expressing such concerns is a part of a healthy bilateral relationship between two nations.

"So that’s part of what we believe to be a healthy bilateral relationship, where we can express those kind of concerns, as we do with countries around the world and governments where we believe there are credible reports of human rights abuses," the US State Department official said.

Duterte earlier said that he will not bow down to US President Barack Obama on the issue of extrajudicial and vigilante killings of drug suspects in the country.

READ: Duterte on possible confrontation with Obama: Who is he?

The White House had decided to cancel Obama's meeting with Duterte at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos after the Philippine president called the American chief executive a "son of a whore."

The Philippine president has expressed regret over his tirade against Obama which came out as a personal attack.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) clarified that the meeting between Duterte and Obama will be postponed to a later date.

"While asserting the intent to chart an independent foreign policy and promote closer ties with all nations, he expressed his deep regard and affinity for President Obama and for the enduring partnership between our nations," the DFA said in a statement.

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