US President Donald Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte discussed possible coordination on the response to COVID-19 in a recent phone call.
AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images North America | Sen. Bong Go/Release
Trump offers additional assistance to Duterte
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - April 21, 2020 - 10:31am

MANILA, Philippines — In a recent phone call with President Rodrigo Duterte, US President Donald Trump offered additional assistance to the Philippines as it deals with the deadly coronavirus disease, which first emerged in China late last year.

The US Embassy in Manila confirmed that Duterte spoke with Trump last Sunday.

The embassy said Trump expressed his solidarity with Duterte as both countries deal with the pandemic that has infected more than 2.4 million people in 193 countries and territories.

"Both leaders agreed to continue working together as long-time allies to defeat the pandemic, save lives and restore global economic strength," the US Embassy said in a statement Tuesday.

The US leader also expressed condolences for the death of 11 Filipino soldiers killed in a clash with the Abu Sayyaf group in Patikul, Sulu last Friday.

"The two leaders also discussed how the United States and the Philippines can continue building upon the string and enduring economic, cultural and security ties binding the two nations," the statement read.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque described the US-initiated phone call as "cordial."

According to Roque, the call from Trump lasted for 18 minutes, wherein the two leaders discussed collaboration on COVID-19.

"The only authority I got from the president is to say that it was about cooperation, that the Philippines and the US may cooperate on the COVID-19," Roque said in a press briefing Monday.

Just last week, the US government provided an additional P66 million ($1.3 million) to the Philippines to help in its fight against the new coronavirus.

The US, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is also working with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to intensify efforts to control the outbreak.

"Through this additional assistance, USAID will augment its support for the country’s laboratory systems; intensify case-finding and event-based surveillance; fortify systems to prevent and control infections; expand risk communication; and support Filipino and international technical experts to enhance response and preparedness," USAID said in a media release.

The additional assistance from the Philippines is also expected to expand the country's testing capacity and provide the latest information about COVID-19 to Filipinos and health care providers.

The US has so far provided more than P203 million ($4 million) in aid to the Philippines' response to COVID-19.

As of Monday afternoon, the Philippines recorded 6,459 cases of COVID-19 with 613 recoveries and 428 deaths.

Meanwhile, US death toll has climbed to 42,094 with more than 784,000 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning (Manila time), according to the latest tally from John Hopkins University.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2020 - 8:20am

A thread of major developments in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States from April to December 2020. (Photo by AFP/Mark Cristino)

June 15, 2020 - 8:20am

In a phone call with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on June 12, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed support for the decision of the Philippine government to suspend the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement and "reiterated how the agreement benefits both countries."

"Further, Secretary Esper and Secretary Lorenzana discussed a range of regional security issues including impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South China Sea, counter-terrorism, and the Philippines plans for military modernization," the US Department of Defense said in a readout.

According to the Pentagon, Esper also told Lorenzana he was looking forward to seeing each other again at the next ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting - Plus in Vietnam.

June 11, 2020 - 3:12pm

The US government wishes the Philippines a happy and prosperous 122nd year of independence.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the alliance between the countries is fortified by a shared history, rich people-to-people ties and deep bilateral cooperation.

"As we stood together during World War II?and?in the global fight against terrorism, our nations are?partnering again to contain and mitigate COVID-19.??Our?friendship and cooperation?stand?as a model for ensuring peace,?stability,?prosperity,?and health?across the Indo-Pacific," Pompeo says in a statement released Thursday.

May 22, 2020 - 10:27am

The Philippine Embassy in Washington defends the US government's $2-billion arms sale to the Philippines, pointing out that the country's defense modernization program has long been pursued even by past administrations.

"The program is critical to national security and necessary to achieving a credible defense posture. This also makes the Philippines a more robust and effective security partner for countries in the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia regions, especially at a time of traditional and emerging security challenges," the embassy says in a statement.

The embassy also accuses "certain groups" of taking advantage of the issue to "advance their own political agenda" to the detriment of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the US. 

May 7, 2020 - 5:05pm

The US government provides an additional P298 million to help support the Philippines in its efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Embassy says the additional aid brings the total amount of US assistance to the Philippines to more than P768 million ($15.2 million).

The US Agency for International Development will partner with 18 local governments in the country's hardes-hit areas to promote effective crisis management and implement resppnse plans.

"Funding will support local governments to rapidly disburse emergency funding and supplies, and strengthen the capacity of local crisis response centers to disseminate accurate and timely crisis response information, manage quarantine measures, set up public handwashing facilities, ensure food supply, and support local business recovery," the US Embassy says in a statement.

April 22, 2020 - 1:11pm

The U.S. Embassy in Manila announces fresh assistance for health and humanitarian purposes during the COVID-19 crisis.

The new package of P269 million ($5.3 million) from Washington brings its total assistance to the Philippines to more than P470 million ($9.3 million).

The announcement came following the phone exchange between President Duterte and American President Donald Trump on Sunday evening.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with