At a recent meeting in Manila, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte support in his war on drugs if he would agree to change his brutal tactics. The meeting was held this Monday at the presidential palace in Manila in order to discuss issues including ISIS, policing the South China Sea, and recent threats by North Korea.
According to human rights organizations, Duterte has waged a violent war against drug users in his country, killing thousands of citizens without due process of law. Human rights groups have also criticized Tillerson for failing to address these human rights violations during his stint as Secretary of State. Tillerson did briefly address the issue at this meeting, telling Duterte “we are all aware of the American people’s criticism of you and your handling of drug cartels.”
Duterte said that drugs were responsible for bringing ISIS terrorists into his country, without providing evidence to support the claim. Tillerson described how the U.S. had set up a task force to combat drug traffickers, and offered Duterte assistance with creating better strategies to handle his own drug war.
According to senior aide R.C. Hammond, Tillerson only made a general offer of assistance, and did not promise to provide any specific resources. Hammond also noted that Tillerson's offer was not intended as criticism of Duterte's anti-drug policies, whose response was described as cordial, but noncommittal.