Tillerson said there's no contradiction presented by the USA decision to help Duterte fight militants in Marawi.
U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson (left) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had a meeting of the minds over concerns about North Korea. It was the highest-level interaction to date between a member of President Donald Trump's administration and Duterte, accused by human rights groups of flagrant abuses in his bloody war against illegal drugs.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with visiting U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting at the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on August 7, 2017.
"I'll cut short my speech so that you will have a chance for a crack at the two million for those idiots". "United States military presence also aims to secure U.S. economic interests in the region", the group said. "So human rights, don't go there".
If approved, the US military would be able to conduct strikes against ISIS targets in the Philippines that could be a threat to allies in the region, which would include the Philippine forces battling ISIS on the ground in the country's southern islands.
The situation on Mindanao, particularly in the ISIS-occupied city of Marawi, has grown dire indeed.
A spokeswoman for the Philippine Army explained the stalled effort to recapture the area from ISIS by saying, "Philippine soldiers are good in jungle fighting, not in urban operations", while Islamic State snipers are "very good - they do head shots all the time".
But ahead of the meeting, Duterte's presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said the topic would indeed come up, along with other pressing matters such as global terrorism threats, economic cooperation and security in Marawi, the city that has been under siege by pro-Islamic State group militants for more than two months.
"The authority to strike ISIS targets [in the Philippines] as part of collective self-defense could be granted as part of an official military operation that may be named as early as Tuesday", NBC's Courtney Kube noted. The appeal of switching over to precision USA drone strikes, before the sympathy of the population shifts to the Islamist militants, is obvious.
"There can be no justification for allowing a foreign superpower with the world's worst rights record to be conducting airstrikes on Philippine soil".
Reyes, like the defense officials working to defeat his organization, questioned the legality of USA airstrikes under Philippine law and said they would "violate our national sovereignty".
"Using the ongoing conflict as a pretext for permanent United States basing and power-projection in Southeast Asia".