Palace downplays Thai paper's comment, UK envoy's tweet


Posted at Oct 12 2016 07:19 PM

MANILA - Palace officials downplayed on Wednesday the criticisms of a Thai news agency against President Rodrigo Duterte's confusing policy and relations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In an October 11 editorial post entitled "Manila sows Asean unease", the Bangkok post said Duterte's "ever-changing policies" on the Philippines' relations with the US and military exercises also damage "long and careful relations" within the ASEAN and the group's neighbors.

Despite the negative remarks from the Thai-based media outlet, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippines' "relationship with ASEAN countries remains fundamentally solid."

"The President (Duterte) has been received very well by the ASEAN leaders and that even the Japanese emperor is looking forward to meet him when he visits Japan," Abella said.

"The relationships of the Philippines with the rest of the neighbors, ASEAN neighbors, are strong and as witnessed by the fact that trips have been made and assurances have been made from both sides," Abella added.

The presidential spokesman also brushed aside British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad's tweet that reminded the public about the help the world gave the Philippines.

Ahmad made the comment after Duterte dared the Unites States and the European Union to pull out their aid to the Philippines.

"He (Duterte) is trying to remind the Filipino people to regain some sort of self-respect. Yes, we accept aid, and we respect and we are very grateful for these things but these are the things that we not dependent on," Abella said.

"These are not the things that we seek out, or are willing to back off on our principles simply because we are afraid to lose aid," he said.