US embassy does 'throwback' of Yolanda relief ops amid Duterte's tirades


Posted at Oct 06 2016 07:03 PM

MANILA – The Embassy of the United States in the Philippines on Thursday posted “throwback” photos of its relief operations in the Philippines during the typhoon “Yolanda” crisis.

The US was one of the first countries to send aid to the Philippines in the wake of the massive typhoon which claimed the lives of over 6,000 people in Visayas.

Analysts say years of disaster response training with their Filipino counterparts have allowed US troops to easily navigate the Philippines and send the needed aid.

“Members of the U.S. Marines are one of the first to respond with relief supplies immediately after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines on November 2013.,” read the caption of the photos posted on the US embassy’s official Facebook page which was accompanied by the hashtag “#FriendsPartnersAllies.”

“From building houses and schools, to first aid training in the Filipino community, military exercises like the ongoing PHIBLEX 33 also include community assistance programs to ensure Filipinos have the resources and skills to respond to real-world disasters.”

At the time the typhoon struck, the Philippines was already embroiled in a bitter dispute with China over the South China Sea.

China was criticized then for its relatively meager donation to the stricken nation.

The post of the US embassy comes amid the increasingly tough rhetoric of President Rodrigo Duterte toward the US.

Duterte told US President Barack Obama this week to "go to hell," the latest in a string of verbal attacks prompted by Washington's criticism of his bloody war on drugs.

He has also signaled an end to joint war games, casting doubts on the future of the two countries' military alliance.

The US is the Philippines' only treaty ally. The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty binds the two countries to "defend themselves against external armed attack."

While criticizing the US, Duterte has signaled building ties with Washington's foes Beijing and Moscow. This despite the Philippines and China sparring over the resource-rich South China Sea.