Duterte dismisses human rights concerns after meeting Tillerson

Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte dismissed concerns about his country’s human rights record hours after meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday.

“Human rights, son of a b**** — policemen and soldiers have died on me,” he told reporters at a press conference. “Human rights — you go there and you might have a bomb dropped on your head.”

Duterte’s meeting with Tillerson came amid growing American support for his country’s battle with an ISIS affiliate that has attempted to seize territory within its borders and staged increasingly violent attacks.

Duterte has a history of salty language. He faced backlash for insulting former President Obama on multiple occasions — calling him the “son of a w****” and telling him to “go to hell.”

His human rights record has also been a source of controversy. He has often touted a violent, extrajudicial war on drugs that has killed thousands here in the Philippines, even bragging of killing drug dealers himself.

Tillerson’s aides said he would raise human rights in the meeting, but the secretary of state has been criticized for a perceived lack of focus on these issues. Tillerson told State Department employees in May that American values like human rights and democracy should take a back seat to national security and economic interests at times.

In the Philippines, the State Department has mostly stressed its concerns about the arrival of foreign ISIS fighters from the Middle East and about the longtime U.S. ally drifting closer to China and Russia.

The Duterte government has been struggling against an ISIS affiliate that seized control of the city Marawi on the country’s southern island Mindanao in May of this year.

The U.S. military’s Pacific Command has been tracking the flow of some foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria to that fight in the Philippines, according to Tillerson. At the end of July, the Pentagon announced the transfer of two Cessna aircraft to the Filipino military for surveillance and reconnaissance, and Tillerson revealed Monday that “a couple of UAVs,” or drones, were part of that deal as well.

The U.S. has also provided “some training and some guidance in terms of how to deal with an enemy that fights in ways that is not like what most people have ever had to deal with,” Tillerson added.

Last month, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff brought up the possibility of an operation assisting the Philippines in its fight against the ISIS affiliate, leading to…

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