27 September 2016

Abella: Filipino-Americans support President Duterte
Filipino communities in the United States support President Rodrigo Duterte despite some noise at home, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Tuesday, September 27 after visiting different locations in the US with high concentration of Filipinos.
“The Filipino communities in San Francisco, Washington, and New York have shown very positive responses to the President,” he said in a press briefing in Malacañan.

“They are highly committed to the President. They are very, very supportive and despite a little bit of noise, they continue to be very upbeat about what’s happening in the Philippines and continue to support the programs of the President,” he added.

Asked if the Filipino communities in the US are alarmed by the recent statements of the President, Abella said Filipino-Americans understand the sentiments of President Duterte.

”Surprisingly, they are very grounded and they seem to understand very instinctively kung saan nanggagaling ang Presidente. They seem to have a firm grasp, a firm understanding of where he is coming from,” he said.

Abella also reported about the meeting between the President and members of the National Democratic Front (NDF), including the Tiamzons, in Malacañan on Monday night.

The Palace spokesman described Monday’s event as a “meet-and-greet” between the President and members of the NDF.

The members of the leftist group thanked the President for releasing their consultants, according to Abella.

They also expressed willingness to cooperate in the President’s socio-economic reforms as long as both parties are in agreement with whatever reforms should be discussed.

“They also hope that there will be no cancellation of the peace talks and they are all very enthusiastic about the progress of the current peace talks,” he added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, who joined the press briefing in Malacañan, clarified President Duterte’s statement regarding Philippines-US relations, saying that the country is not veering away from its commitments with Washington.

Explaining the President’s position, Yasay said: “He simply wants to undertake an independent foreign policy, that we are part of an international community and that the Constitution in fact mandates that we should have amity amongst all nations, particularly with China, our neighbor.”

In the same press briefing, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that despite the domestic noise, the Philippines is still in a good position to attract investment and grow economically.

The Philippine economy is in good shape, Diokno said. It is the fastest growing economy in Asia together with China and India, he said, adding that the country’s inflation rate has been reined in.

Diokno said the government can also borrow money at extraordinarily very low rates, noting the Duterte administration has a good 10-point agenda for development.

”So we focus on the economic fundamentals. They are pretty good. So, if I were an investor, I’ll see the forest not the trees,” he said. PND