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I feel you! Trump ‘sympathizes’ with PH over drug problem

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By: Xave Gregorio

Malacañang said on Monday (Nov. 13) that US President Donald Trump “seems to sympathize” with the Philippines over its drug problem during his bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

“[Duterte] likewise discussed with President Trump the drug menace in the Philippines. The visiting US leader seems to sympathize with the Philippines and seems to understand the domestic drug situation,” said Secretary Harry Roque in a statement.

Despite appeals from two senators to the former reality TV star, Roque said human rights issues were not tackled by the two leaders.

Both leaders have taken a hard stance against drugs, with Trump recently declaring drugs addiction and the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

“This epidemic is a national health emergency, unlike many of us we’ve seen and what we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Nobody has seen anything like what’s going on now,” Trump said before signing a memorandum on drugs and opioids last October.

On the other hand, Duterte’s strategy against drugs is far more combative and deadly, with several thousands dying in police operations or being shot by men on motorcycles since the administration launched its war against drugs last year.

The international community has repeatedly called out Duterte over these alleged human rights violations, but the Philippine president almost always replied with a dismissal and a couple of expletives.