President Donald Trump on Thursday said he didn’t think there was any “opus development” taking place in the Philippines, despite a growing number of complaints that U.S. firms are using Philippine contracts for commercial development.
“There is a lot of development going on, but I’m not sure that’s the same as an opus,” Trump said.
I think it’s a lot easier for them to develop.” “
If you look at what’s happening with the Chinese, they have a lot more.
I think it’s a lot easier for them to develop.”
Trump said he is looking into the matter after meeting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last week, where they exchanged pleasantries, but the president added he is not sure about the situation.
“They’re going to have to work on that, but it’s happening,” Trump told Fox News.
“That’s my understanding, but that’s my position.”
The Philippines, which is seeking $2.3 billion in U.N. assistance to help stem a devastating pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people, has also faced criticism that U-S.
companies have been using the country’s $1.2 trillion in bilateral trade to expand their operations.
Trump’s comments come as he seeks to maintain a tight grip on the Philippines amid concerns that a worsening economy is threatening its sovereignty and could trigger an invasion.
Trump has also threatened to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.
The Philippine government has not responded to Trump’s remarks and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump, who took office in January, has been criticized for not meeting his commitments to Manila and for his controversial comments about the Philippines during his presidential campaign.
The United States has offered the Philippines $2 billion in aid to help ease the economic crisis.
Duterte has also been criticized by the United States and other Western allies for failing to protect the country from an outbreak of typhoon Haiyan that killed thousands of people.
In response to Trump, Duterte on Wednesday signed a decree ordering the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents in the southern Philippines.
The order came days after the president ordered an additional 5,000 military personnel to the southern island of Mindanao to help fight the outbreak.
In an address to the nation on Thursday, Duterte said the new troops would be deployed to protect civilians from “international bandits and drug traffickers.”