Philippines Extends ‘Warm Welcome’ to Trump Prior to November Visit

Philippine Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he gives a speech during the 116th anniversary of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at its headquarters in Manila on August 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Philippines plans to give a “very warm welcome” to U.S. President Donald Trump when he visits Manila in November, said the island nation’s foreign affairs secretary after the White House confirmed the American leader’s upcoming trip.

President Trump’s visit comes amid “improving” relations between the United States and the Philippines that are on an upward “irreversible” path, GMA News reports, citing the secretary and a spokesman for Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano reportedly described U.S.-Filipino relations as “strong and irreversible” in a statement issued Saturday.

“President Trump will definitely receive a very warm welcome in Manila,” said Cayetano, adding, “President Trump’s visit underscores the improving relations between the Philippines and the United States, which no less than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told me is on an upward vector.”

The Filipino foreign affairs secretary met with Tillerson last Wednesday in Washington to discuss strengthening the longtime links between their two nations.

On Saturday, Cayetano also said, “The American-Filipino relationship is so resilient that it bounces back right always regardless of personalities and issues.”

A day earlier, the White House announced that the U.S. president and First Lady Melania Trump would travel to Hawaii and several Asian countries from November 3 to 14 to participate in a series meetings and events, including the summit in the Philippines.

Under the previous U.S. administration, the relationship between America and the Philippines deteriorated after President Barack Obama denounced his Filipino counterpart for the extrajudicial killings of thousands of drug suspects.

Duterte repeatedly reacted profanely to former U.S. President Obama’s criticism, threatening to join a “new world order” that would include communist China and Russia.

The Filipino leader began to soften his approach towards the United States in recent months under the Trump administration, notes the Philippine Star.

In July, Duterte referred to the U.S. as “lousy,” adding, “There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter.”

President Trump’s visit in November underscores the “improving” Filipino-U.S. ties, reportedly said Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for Duterte, in a statement issued Saturday.

“As host country, we hope to make the event productive and pleasant to our foreign guests. We will let them experience our world-famous Filipino hospitality to make sure they would have good memories of their stay in the Philippines,” added Abella.

Duterte congratulated Trump when he became the new U.S. president.

“President Duterte is looking forward to welcoming President Trump in Manila. Our people are excited to see the first face-to-face meeting between our two leaders,” noted Filipino Secretary Cayetano, referring to the American leader’s upcoming trip to Manila.