MANILA – The United States will continue to work together with the Philippines in the many areas of mutual interest to the two countries, said US Press Attache Molly Koscina.
Koscina, in an interview with PNA Tuesday, cited the two-day seminar for regional media held at the US Embassy in Manila that ends today as an area of mutual concern to both the US and the Philippines.
The seminar, which has media representatives from across the country as participants, is on the “Role of Media in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.”
Koscina cited other areas of shared interest between the two countries such as counter terrorism, improvement of life of the Filipino people and the upholding of shared democratic values.
“Our relationship is very broad and our alliance is one of the most enduring and important relationship in the Asia Pacific,” she said.
According to her, the Philippines’ and the US’ relationship has been the cornerstone of stability for more than 70 years, and is an “important relationship in the Asia Pacific.”
“It is built on shared sacrifice for democracy, human rights and built on strong people ties,” she added.
When asked how many US troops are in Mindanao, Koscina said she will refer the question to the defense department.
In a speech on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants US forces to pull out of Mindanao as he pushes for an independent foreign policy.
“Yung mga (Those) special forces, they have to go. They have to go. In Mindanao, maraming mga puti doon (there are many whites there). They have to go,” he said during the oath-taking of 43 new appointees in Malacañang.
“I do not want a rift with America, but they have to go. The Americans, they (Abu Sayyaf bandits) will really kill them. They will get ransom and they will kill (them),” he said.
President Duterte also mentioned the Bud Dajo incident, a “counter-insurgency action fought by the United States against the Moro”, where hundreds of Muslims were killed. With many still remembering such historical injustices, he said, many Mindanaoans are still angry when they see Americans in Mindanao.