Philippines to correct human rights matters in planned meeting with Tillerson
The Philippines will correct misimpressions on the human rights situation if US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raises the topic in his planned meeting with government officials, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to meet with Tillerson on Monday morning.
“We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” a DFA statement said.
Tillerson is arriving Saturday evening in Manila to attend a regional security forum hosted by the Philippines.
In an interview with reporters, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said if Duterte’s meeting at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum will push through, he expects it to be “frank and honest.”
He said the Philippines intends to discuss “the way forward of our relationship” and also refer to some twists and turns, or some valleys in our relationship,” including issues on human rights.
At least 7,000 have been killed in the government’s anti-drug war, news reports said.
Cayetano said “mutual trust” exists between the Duterte and Trump administrations unlike during former US President Barack Obama, who strongly opposed Duterte’s drug war.
“There wasn't mutual trust between the Duterte and Obama administrations. But between the Trump and Duterte administrations, there is mutual trust so tricky issues, which in the past sparked arguments, I think, can and will be discussed including human rights,” he said.
“When there is mutual respect, it can be discussed in a context of friendship and of cooperation.” DMS