US president told to ‘lay off’ human rights issue at upcoming meeting
During his highly publicized Asia tour, U.S. President Donald Trump took time to praise the Philippines and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in working to closing the gender gap while upholding family values.
On Friday, November 10, Trump delivered a speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Danang, Vietnam in which he unusually acknowledged the efforts of many Asian leaders, including the Philippines.
“The Philippines has emerged as a proud nation of strong and devout families,” Trump said at the summit of leaders of the Pacific Rim.
Duterte, however, missed the speech because he was en route to a bilateral meeting.
Referencing the women who have served and are currently serving in roles of authority in business and government, Trump added, “For 11 consecutive years, the World Economic Forum has ranked the Philippines first among Asian countries in closing the gender gap and embracing women leaders in business and in politics.”
Previously visiting Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam, Trump will be in Manila during his last leg of his 12-day tour around Asia.
Earlier this week, Duterte said in a press conference that he plans to tell Trump to “lay off” discussing human rights when they meet. He plans to divert any discussion of the nearly year-long extrajudicial killings that claimed the lives of 3,900 Filipinos.
“You want to ask a question, I’ll give you an answer: lay off,” Duterte told reporters on Wednesday, November 8 before his departure to Vietnam. “That is not your business. That is my business. I take care of my country and I will nurture my country to health.”
Since the summer of 2016 when the ruthless killings began, many world leaders have expressed concern over the Duterte administration’s handling over the crisis, which has infuriated the Philippine president.
According to Sung Kim, United States ambassador to the Philippines, Trump and Duterte are scheduled for a bilateral meeting and are likely going to discuss human rights, rule of law and due process.
Filipinos protest Trump before Manila visit
Ahead of Trump’s visit to Manila this weekend, hundreds of Filipinos have taken to the streets of the city to protest against him. Activists from left-wing groups held up signs that opposed Trump’s policies, including one that said, “Ban Trump — Fight U.S. Imperialist War and Plunder.”
In the peaceful demonstration, protesters chanted anti-Trump slogans like, “Trump not welcome / Fight U.S. imperialist war,” while others carried posters branding Trump as a “fascist.”
A separate protest was held outside the Trump Tower in Makati, where members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, a coalition of left-wing groups, protested a claim that Trump plans to establish more U.S. military bases in the Philippines.
They fear that Trump’s visit could form a closer relationship to the U.S., resulting in the Philippines being dragged into future regional conflicts with North Korea.
“Trump represents the worst aspects of U.S. imperialism,” the group told the Southeast Asia Globe on Friday. “He is right now the biggest threat to regional peace with his provocations against North Korea.”
Trump and Duterte are set to meet this weekend.