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Cayetano on Duterte-Obama row: All is Well
« on: September 10, 2016, 10:31:55 AM »
Cayetano on Duterte-Obama row: All is Well
 
“All’s well that ends well.”
 
This is how Senator Alan Peter Cayetano described the brief meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday night, following the cancellation of a scheduled formal talk between the two leaders last Tuesday.
 
The two presidents met informally in a holding room before attending a gala dinner at the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos.
 
During an interview with the Philippine media delegation, Cayetano, who accompanied President Duterte in his trip, said that the brief meetup ended well for both parties. He said the two leaders shared “a warm handshake [and] a good conversation.”
 
“You could see that there is an effort from both sides to patch things up,” added the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, as he expressed the importance of maintaining strong diplomatic ties between the Philippines and the US.
 
“In diplomacy, you do not usually go to the past and say, ‘bakit nangyari ‘yun.’ You can’t blame anyone. It won’t be productive. The Philippines and the US have a longstanding partnership [and] relationship. There will be bumps along the way... But it won’t hurt to have a popular President on our side,” he stressed.
 
The senator earlier wrote an open letter to President Obama, which went viral in social media. In his letter, Cayetano appealed to the US leader to "give the Philippines and President Duterte a chance" to achieve genuine change, as the administration wages a three-pronged war to address poverty, defeat crime and drugs, and achieve a just, inclusive, and lasting peace.
 
Cayetano said that like President Obama, who persevered to overcome challenges and accomplish so much for the American people, the Philippines now has a leader who is willing to sacrifice his life and honor to protect the welfare of all Filipinos.
 
He further lamented how President Duterte has been misjudged by some sectors based on the way he speaks, which was aggravated by a misinformation campaign about the human rights situation in the country.
 
"Does he (Pres. Duterte) not deserve to be judged on his record and his actions? On facts and not manipulated statistics? On where he wants to bring the country rather than his sometimes politically incorrect words?" Cayetano asked. "Can't we give the Philippines and President Duterte a Chance?"

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