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PH questions Trump's 'terrorist nation' tag

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Saturday, August 6, questioned the statement of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump lumping the Southeast Asian country among "terrorist nations." 

"Baka he’s just speaking in broad strokes na hindi niya alam talaga ‘yung napag-usapan niya," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview with state-run dzRB.

(Maybe he’s just speaking in broad strokes and he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.)

Abella said that "it would help" Trump, if he wins the US presidency, "to really understand his constituents." He added that Filipinos have made many deep contributions to the US, a top destination of Filipino migrant workers.

Abella made this statement after Trump on Thursday, August 4, said refugees from "terrorist nations", including the Philippines, should be barred from entering the US.

Trump, who has built his campaign around an anti-immigration platform, said at a rally on Thursday, "We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn't be allowed because you can't vet them." 

"You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time," he said. "This is a practice that has to stop."

Philippines: We're fighting terrorism

In a separate statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Trump "unfortunately" mentioned the Philippines in an anti-immigration speech in the US.

He pointed out that Trump has a "major real estate 'brand' investment" in Makati, the Philippines' financial capital. This investment is Trump Tower, a 57-story luxury apartment.

Andanar said, "In fact, Mr Trump has even professed his love for the Philippines during the launch of his 57-story luxury apartment in Makati. He did say, 'I've always loved the Philippines. I think it is just a special place, and Manila is one of Asia’s most spectacular cities. I know that this project (Trump Tower) will be second to none.'"

Andanar added, "Let it be known that the Philippines and the Filipino people stand in solidarity with other peace-loving countries and individuals in fighting and opposing terrorism in all its forms."

Up to 2.9 million Filipino immigrants and their children live in the US, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute in July 2014.

The Migration Policy Institute also said that Filipinos comprise the 4th biggest number of immigrants to the US, next to those from Mexico, China, and India. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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