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Duterte on US visit: Just a matter of ‘scheduling’

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FILE photo of President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivering his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge in Intramuros, Manila on July 17, 2018. -- ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, July 25, said that his visit to the United States is still possible, saying that it is just a matter of “scheduling.”

“I have been invited to the United States several times. But you know it’s not because of anybody or any place there. It has something to do with the schedule,” Mr. Duterte said in his speech at the Asia-Pacific Healthy Islands Conference 2018 in Davao City on Wednesday evening.

Among the high-level figures present at the event were Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, and Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman.

The President added: “You know, I used to fly when I was young, many years [ago]. I had accumulated something like 670 hours of flying. But for the life of me, I cannot stand long flights anymore. Even the recovery of a jet lag, it would take me about almost two to three days to — just stretch it out before I can function as a person outside.”

The President also noted that he has yet to figure out why his “friend,” US President Donald J. Trump, decided to withdraw from the 196-nation Paris agreement on climate change.

“True enough, the United States withdrew… I don’t know why… I have to fathom the reason or even the rationale of the withdrawal. Is it because it cannot work hand in hand with other nations or is it because Trump would like to do it alone? He’s my friend,” he said.

Also in his speech, the President assured his audience that they have his “full support” as they engage with their counterparts and partners in the region and the rest of the world” on their advocacy on health and environment.

“Climate change is not a typhoon that visits your country once or twice a year. Climate change is a day-to-day problem and a day-to-day polishing,” he stressed.

On global peace and security issues, he said: “Before anything else, there has to be peace in the world. The South Korean Peninsula issue has to be resolved. Then, we stop egging Iran to go to war. Because if that’s what will happen, even about a few hundreds of missiles, nuclear, then there’s no use of talking about climate change.”

He said he appreciates nations that approach the problem with “sobriety” and “understanding.”

“China is doing its job and the other countries. But really, I cannot be too generic in my selection because you know how it is. I’m sure everybody knows what these things are. And so, before anything else, let us decide that we avoid war because that would be a disaster. I think it would be the end of the planet Earth,” he added.





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