Malacañang on Wednesday, December 12, said the “coldness” in the United States is stopping President Rodrigo Duterte to visit Washington even after the return of the Balangiga Bells.
“What I know is he really doesn’t want to go to the U.S. apart from whatever reasons he has in mind. He cannot stand the temperature, the coldness. He really doesn’t like it when it’s really cold,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Duterte would only visit the U.S. after the historic Balangiga Bells are returned to the Philippines.
The Balangiga Bells on Tuesday, December 11, were finally returned to the Philippines, 117 years after it was taken by American soldiers as war trophies.
The return of the bells was called on by Duterte during his 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Duterte’s relationship with the U.S., which soured during the term of former U.S. President Barack Obama who criticized the Duterte administration’s brutal war on drugs, improved after Donald Trump assumed presidency.