Duterte, Kerry talk about terrorism, drugs, motorcycles

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2016 05:33 PM

President Duterte greets US Secretary of State John Kerry Malacanang Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte and US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday had a working lunch where they affirmed the "long-standing" relationship between the two countries and discussed a wide range of "common concerns" such as terrorism, crime, drugs, religious fanaticism and maritime security, Malacañang said.

"In relation to this, they also mentioned a menu of solutions," presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Abella said that during their meeting, the United States committed $32 million in law enforcement "training and services" but did not elaborate.

On the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), Abella said, "It was affirmed that whatever works for the Philippines will be what will work."

READ: PH assures US on military treaty implementation

According to Abella, Duterte mentioned to Kerry the way he has been handling the war against crime, especially drugs. There was "no alarm mentioned" on the recent spate of killings, he said.

On the maritime security, he said "there were no agreements" but Duterte did say that "whatever talks we will engage in will begin with the ruling."

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The Palace said Duterte and Kerry also exchanged stories about motorcycles.

Asked about how the meeting went given anti-US statements Duterte gave in the past, Abella said: "We need to qualify what you're saying that he was not a fan [of US]. In fact, he abides by the law and he does we do appreciate the support US has given us, it's just that there were incidents in our historical past that he was pointing out."

"Historically he did mention it again about in 1521 how American and the other colonial powers actually inflicted a lot of historical pain upon, especially the residents of Mindanao," he added.

Meanwhile, regarding climate change, Abella said Kerry was helpful in defining certain issues about the Paris pact.

"The President also responded appropriately when he said that the Philippines will work out just as long as everything is fair," he said.