Backlash in Philippines against tycoon over 'terrorist nation' label

 Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania on August 12.
Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania on August 12.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA • Mr Donald Trump's recent assertion that the United States was letting in "animals" from "terrorist nations", among them the Philippines, has provoked a strong backlash here, making headlines and prompting a Philippine congressman to propose barring Mr Trump from the country.

The congressman, Mr Jose Salceda, filed a resolution this week seeking to "refuse Donald J. Trump entry into the Philippines" for the "wholesale labelling of Filipinos as coming from a 'terrorist' state".

Mr Salceda condemned Mr Trump's "ugliness of utterances, largely unprompted and undeserved" despite his having profited handsomely from licensing his name and brand to a real estate development in the Philippines.

At a campaign rally last week in Portland, Mr Trump said that refugees from "terrorist nations" should be barred from the US.

"We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn't be allowed because you can't vet them," he said. He then named several countries, including the Philippines, whose immigrants, he said, had been arrested in the US for terrorism-related offences. "We're dealing with animals," he said.

Filipinos represent the fourth-largest immigrant group in the US, about 4.5 per cent of the total immigrant population, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-profit think-tank based in Washington.

Mr Trump presents quite a different message about the Philippines on the website for Trump Tower at Century City, a US$150 million (S$201 million), 57-storey apartment building nearing completion in metropolitan Manila.

"I've always loved the Philippines," he says. "I think it's just a special place and Manila is one of Asia's most spectacular cities."

Mr Trump does not own the building, the website says, but he licensed his name to the developers.

Filipinos represent the fourth- largest immigrant group in the US, about 4.5 per cent of the total immigrant population, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-profit think-tank based in Washington.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 14, 2016, with the headline 'Backlash in Philippines against tycoon over 'terrorist nation' label'. Print Edition | Subscribe