Duterte hopeful of continued warm relations with US

Published September 7, 2020, 11:20 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is hopeful that the country’s alliance with the United States will stay the same with the imminent designation of a new US ambassador.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers the Order of Sikatuna on US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim who paid a farewell call on the President at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 7, 2020.

The President made the remark after thanking outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim for his contributions to strengthening the alliance between the two countries. The US envoy made a farewell call on the President on Monday.

“I hope everything will be the same, as is,” Duterte said in a televised public address Monday night, after mentioning the deployment of a new US ambassador to the Philippines. “Kim is out,” he said.

Prior to his public address, the Palace announced that the President congratulated Ambassador Kim on his “successful tour of duty” in the country.  Kim will end his three-year tour of duty in the Philippines, which started in November 2016.

Duterte also conferred on the outgoing ambassador the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu or Gold Cross.

“The President expressed appreciation for Ambassador Kim’s vital contributions in strengthening the alliance and partnership between the Philippines and the United States,” the Palace said in a statement.

The Palace likewise cited “important milestones” in the country’s ties with the United States such as the return of the Balangiga Bells in December 2018. The two countries also expanded cooperation in various areas of shared interest, especially in defense and security, trade and investments, and people-to-people exchanges.

The US ambassador, for his part, thanked the President for “a productive bilateral engagement” with the Philippines, according to the Palace.

“He emphasized that the US remains committed to the alliance and partnership with the Philippines that are based on shared values and meaningful history,” it said.