Malacanang on Saturday said the upcoming visit of United States President Barrack Obama to the Philippines in October has nothing to do with the government’s efforts to immediately resolve the crisis in Zamboanga.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government has no other reason but the immediate normalization of the situation in Zamboanga.
“Yung visit, matagal nang nakaschedule yan at saka hindi yun yung dahilan kung bakit gusto nating tapusin na (The visit has been scheduled long before and it is not the reason why we want to immediately end the crisis in Zamboanga),“ Valte said.
“Ang dahilan ay maibalik natin yung kapayapaaan sa ating mga kababayan sa Zamboanga City at wala nang ibang dahilan (The reason is because we want to bring back the peace to our fellowmen in Zamboanga City and there are no other reasons),“ she said.
Valte meanwhile was mum on the possible discussion of President Aquino and President Obama on the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China.
However, she said the meeting between the two leaders will be expansive, including on how to further strengthen bilateral relations between the US and the Philippines as well as strengthening security ties, economic ties, and people-to-people exchanges.
President Obama will be having his first official visit to the country on October 11 to 12 here in Manila after his attendance to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bali, Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Brunei Darussalam.
The Philippines will be President Obama’s last stop in his Southeast Asia tour before going back to the United States. He will also be visiting Malaysia.
It will be President Obama’s first official visit to the country since he assumed his post in 2008.
The United States is one of the two strategic partners of the Philippines. (Madel Sabater-Namit/Roy C. Mabasa)