MANILA—Malacañang on Tuesday said that the United States has expressed its understanding of the Philippine situation as well as its readiness to provide more military support.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said this was among the issues discussed by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim with President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting Monday at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City.
“The President said that PHL-US relations at the bilateral level remain strong and there is readiness to discuss more matters of mutual interest with the US,” the Palace official told reporters in a Palace briefing.
He said that Kim, for his part, expressed pride over the cooperation between US and PHL intelligence forces in terms of intelligence and information sharing, training and equipment support.
“Sung Kim also assured PRRD that the US understands the security concerns of the Philippines and that the US is ready to provide more military equipment, assistance and training,” he said.
“They agreed that PH and the US have mutual interests and shared values. Both stressed that these fruitful engagements and discussions are very important in ensuring that both states are on the same page,” Abella said.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Manila said that Kim had a “friendly, productive meeting with President Duterte” in Davao City.
“They discussed the extensive bilateral partnership over the years as well as cooperation on counter-terrorism, child protection, piracy, and economic development in Mindanao,” the Embassy said in a statement released Tuesday.
It said Kim discussed the two countries’ partnerships in the region, especially on strengthening the local economy and promoting peace and stability.
“Overall, the US government has pledged more than PHP 3.5 billion for dozens of projects in Mindanao over the next few years, including the Roll-on, Roll-off, or RO-RO, nautical highway,” it said.
The US Embassy said the nautical highway project, which will connect the cities of Davao and General Santos to the Sulawesi Island of Indonesia by April 30, is meant to help US and Philippine businesses in Mindanao increase their exports “at great savings.”
It also highlighted the contribution of US agricultural corporation Cargill to Mindanao.
“Cargill exports PHP 7.5 billion worth of coconut oil every year, much of which comes from Mindanao, supporting tens of thousands of Mindanao farmers,” the Embassy said.
It said the company has also trained 1,000 coconut farmers to improve their agricultural practices.
“As a result, 300 small farmers from the region have been certified to produce the world’s first Rainforest Alliance certified copra, raising their incomes by 15 percent,” the statement said.