While US-Philippines relations are worse now than they’ve been in years, the US Embassy in Manila sought to emphasize that the US is providing the nation more military aid than any time in the last 15 years, saying they provided $127 million in aid in the last 12 months.
The level was a 154% increase from the previous year, and while embassy officials insist the next year’s level has not been finalize, there appears to be no expectation that the level will go down any time soon either, with the intention that the return of US troops to the Philippines would mean steadily rising aid.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been loudly rejecting the US military presence in his country, and seeking to move away from the reliance on the US for military support, saying he doesn’t need US money, and that he thinks he can get a better deal from China and Russia.
While Duterte has loudly railed against President Obama, he and President-elect Donald Trump had a much more positive conversation, with Trump expressing admiration for Duterte’s anti-drug policy, which involves summary executions. This has fueled speculation that Trump may ultimately salvage the US alliance with the Philippines, though it is likely to be an expensive effort, with efforts to buy good relations continuing.