Duterte gets call from Trump, talks about bilateral cooperation versus COVID-19

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night received a phone call from United States President Donald Trump, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said.

The two state leaders will be discussing bilateral cooperation against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Go said that it was Trump who initiated the phone call.

Meanwhile, in a televised briefing, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque described the 18-minute conversation on Sunday night as “cordial” and said it focused on possible bilateral cooperation to address the pandemic.

It was the US government that initiated the phone call, Roque said.

“Beyond that, I have no authority to divulge any further details,” Roque said.

Roque appealed for understanding from the public given the confidentiality of diplomatic communications.

“We have notes and transcripts but even that po hindi pupuwedeng i-anunsyo sa publiko,” he said.

Last month, the US announced that it will give P139 million or US$2.7 million to the Philippines to support initiatives to defeat COVID-19 such as specimen transport systems and laboratory capacity to accurately and rapidly detect cases.

The aid will also help protect health workers and patients by ensuring that hygiene products, masks, waste management supplies, and other necessary commodities are available, delivered, and managed appropriately, it added.

The funding is also aimed at expanding communities’ disease preparedness and access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services and commodities./Stacy Ang

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