White House: Duterte's comments at odds with US-PH ties
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - October 5, 2016 - 12:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte's latest remarks against United States President Barack Obama is in conflict with the relationship of the two countries, a White House official said on Tuesday.

During his speech at the opening of the joint Philippine-US military exercises, Duterte told Obama to "go to hell" and the European Union to settle for purgatory.

Duterte earlier expressed his intent to end the war games between the two countries during his term.

READ: Rody: Obama can go to hell, EU to purgatory

"Those comments are at odds with the warm relationship that exists between the Filipino and American people. There’s also an important record of cooperation between our two governments, cooperation that has continued under the Duterte government, in fact," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a press briefing.

Earnest noted that the 70-year Philippines-US alliance is built on strong people-to-people ties.

The Obama administration is focused on working with the Philippines to improve the livelihood of the Filipino people and to uphold their shared democratic values, Earnest said.

The White House official cited the quick response of the American government to help the Philippines in dealing with the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 as an example of their commitment to the two countries' alliance.

"Significant US military assets were deployed to the Philippines to help communities that in some cases were cut off from the rest of the world because of the strength of the storm," Earnest said.

Earnest said that the US has not yet received an official request from Duterte or any other Filipino official to end the joint military exercises held annually.

"We've got open lines of communication with the Philippine government and we have not yet received any sort of communication using those channels from the Filipino government about making substantial changes to our bilateral relationship," the secretary said.

The White House official, however, noted that the US will not hesitate in raising its concerns over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines despite maintaining bilateral relationships.

"We remain deeply concerned by reports of widespread extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of government authorities in the Philippines," Earnest said.

"The use of that kind of tactic is entirely inconsistent with universal human rights and the shared values of our two countries and we value the strong alliance with the Philippines but we won't be silent in raising our significant concerns about these kinds of report," the secretary said.

RELATED: US dismisses Duterte's EDCA statement | Philippines opens what could be final war games with US

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