Clinton in the Philippines

Hillary Clinton, Nov. 12, 2009 | TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images Secretary Clinton is in the Philippines today, where she has expressed support for the country’s efforts to fight Islamist militants and recover from three massive storms that struck in the last six weeks. She visited a flood-stricken high school (seen in the photos above and below) in Marikina, east ...

By , copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009-2016 and was an assistant editor from 2007-2009.
577057_091112_ClintonPhilippinesGirls2.jpg
577057_091112_ClintonPhilippinesGirls2.jpg

Hillary Clinton, Nov. 12, 2009 | TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, Nov. 12, 2009 | TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary Clinton is in the Philippines today, where she has expressed support for the country’s efforts to fight Islamist militants and recover from three massive storms that struck in the last six weeks.

She visited a flood-stricken high school (seen in the photos above and below) in Marikina, east of Manila. There, she announced a $5 million in U.S. relief aid, in addition to the $14 million that has already been provided, to help with recovery from the devastating storms.

One sensitive issue Clinton addressed during her visit was the several hundred U.S. military personnel who are in the Philippines to advise and train Filipino troops on counterinsurgency (al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants are present in some parts of the country). Many leftist and nationalist Filipinos want the U.S. forces out.

At a news conference with Filipino Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, Clinton said, “I would just reiterate that the United States stands ready to assist our friends in the Philippines who are seeking to counter terrorism and the threat of extremism. … And we will be willing to support them in any way that is appropriate that they request. But the relationship between our countries and between our militaries is very strong and cooperative, and we look forward to continuing that.”

The Filipino foreign minister stressed that U.S. troops are not involved in combat in the Philippines and just “assist, advise, and train.” He also pointed out that there is a humanitarian component to their presence, such as recent assistance with typhoon recovery. “They deployed military personnel, equipment, helicopters, boats, forklifts, and bulldozers to immediately assist our people,” he said.

Still, with the Philippines’ being a former colony of the United States, it’s easy to understand why many Filipinos bristle at the U.S. troop presence.

Hillary Clinton, Nov. 12, 2009 | TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, Nov. 12, 2009 | TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

Photos: TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009-2016 and was an assistant editor from 2007-2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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