Fil-Am community leader weighs in on Tillerson’s meeting with Manalo

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with ASEAN leaders in Washington DC yesterday, including representatives from the Philippines, but the meeting has some kababayans wondering if right now is a bad time to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Amid concerns that President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” has been abandoned, in favor of President Trump’s “America First” policy, Tillerson met with ASEAN leaders, including acting Philippine Secretary of State Enrique Manalo.

The meeting came a few days after Trump’s phone calls to ASEAN leaders including Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We are hopeful that acting SEC Enrique Manalo will have enough influence on the Philippine president, especially in last week’s invitation for President Duterte to visit the White House,” said Fil-Am community leader Eric Lachica. “Secretary Manalo we are hoping would engage the Filipino-American community leadership, to prepare an agenda; that would be good for both the Filipino and American people.”

Tillerson urged Southeast Asian foreign ministers to minimize diplomatic ties with North Korea, and to help to cut funding for its nuclear and missile program.

“We are preparing additional sanctions if it turns out North Korea’s actions warrant additional sanctions,” said Tillerson. “We’re hopeful that the regime in North Korea will think about this.”

The meeting with ASEAN leaders came a day after Tillerson met with department of state employees, as the US prepares new sanctions for North Korea.

Lachica believes it’s a bad idea for Trump to carry favor with President Duterte.

“Parang desperate na desperate si Trump to curry favor with Duterte at the expense of the america’s reputation,” he said. “Parang humihingi ng tulong si Trump kay Duterte, it shows kind of a weak hand in poker in political terms, because you showed na parang weak trying to ingratiate yourself with third world country president to put leverage. Whatever leverage Duterte has with his Chinese patrons, parang mahina, parang labas niyan si trup pala mahina pal eh, hindi pa makadiretso kay xi jin ping.”

It’s Tillerson’s first meeting with the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The US State Secretary also called on nations with territorial disputes in the South China Sea to temporarily stop all island building and militarization, while talks are underway.

Lachica says it’s also probably not the right time for Duterte to visit the US.

“This time he should not come, because it will create more complications for President Trump and the Republican leaders who are questioning the sanity of the Philippine president,” he said.

Tillerson also said that the US would de-emphasize human rights concerns in some of its dealings with other countries, possibly the Philippines, to adapt to the changing times.


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  • Juan
    6 May 2017 at 4:15 am - Reply

    Sabi ni Trump sa China, ikaw na ang bahala sa NKorea..Ano ang kapalit..Huwag mo akong tatawagin na Money manipulator.Trump said Trade bet China and US should be fair and reciprocal. It is possible China asked this question to Trump “Huwag mo nang pakialaman ang artificial Island sa PINAS at gagawin ko lahat para tumigil ang NKorea. Ano kaya ang sagot ni Trump “teka muna kakausapin ko si Duterte.”. Ngayon ang mga adviser ni Duterte ay sabi it is not the right time for Duterte to visit Amerika.Ano? Baka ang Pinas ay magsisi… China deployed 100K troops at the border of NKorea, returned ship load of coal coming from Nkorea, and China already cut down the oil supply of NKorea. After the conversation bet Trump and Putin, Russia sent one mile long train,loaded with troops and Tanks at the border of NKorea. Kailagan nang Amerika para gamitin ang Subic Bay para sa safety nang US AirCraft Carrier. Pag hindi nakipag-usap si Duterte… Papayag ipa gamit nang China ang isa sa artificial Island.Ang Austrailia ay nag volunteer na pero malayo, ang Pinas ay wala na sa usapan. Paano si Duterte, pasensya wrong timing, ayaw makipagusap, magagaling ang advises.