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Seagal gives Duterte a thumbs up, says PH ‘not dangerous at all’

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal, who’s in town to take part in the judging panel of the 2017 Miss Earth pageant and do postproduction work for his coming TV series “General Commander,” said the country’s current peace and order situation did not deter him from coming over.

“To be honest with you, I’m a big fan of the Philippine government. I think (President Rodrigo) Duterte is a good president and that he has been instrumental in making this country a safer place. What he has done is very good, in terms of trying to get the control back for the people. I don’t feel like this is a dangerous place at all, but a place that’s up-and-coming with the new leadership.”

Seagal paid a courtesy call on Duterte in Malacañang on Thursday.

Steven further shared he is thankful his friend, former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, is always ready to help him. In fact, Gov. Chavit even met him at the airport when he arrived in Manila.

“We will be going to different places on his plane. He knows a lot of good places here where we can shoot. We need forests and mountains and also the city of Manila,” Steven said.

In General Commander, Steven plays the role of former CIA agent Jake Alexander who is out to bring to justice the person responsible for the death of a friend and colleague. The fellow CIA agent was a vital member of his Alexander’s team but killed during a sling operation in Southeast Asia. After being told he cannot pursue plans to find the person who killed his friend, Alexander and his crew resign from the organization and form a rogue security unit funded by a rich friend.

Steven says he is very excited to shoot in the Philippines. He and some business partners are even planning to build infrastructure in the country that can be used for their future projects both for movies and TV.

“Besides General Commander, I am also finishing my movie ‘Attrition.’ It’s in post production now but I’m reshooting some of the scenes here in the Philippines,” the action star continued. “I know I won’t have a hard time working here because the people are very good.”

As such, it was but natural for Steven to say he likes the Filipino people most of all when he comes to visit.

“I really think the people are this country’s biggest asset. They are very good; they treat us nicely. No wonder the Philippines is called the ‘Pearl of Asia.”

Further proof that he likes coming here is that Steven can no longer remember how many times he has been to the Philippines. To be sure, the first trip was in the ‘80s, and after that, he would come over for vacations, quietly slipping in and out of the country.

Naturally, actor has been to different places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. “My favorite is Vigan, Ilocos Sur,” he revealed. “I like the old town feel. I love staying there. It’s a city that was built 200 or 300 years ago!”

Because he is shooting a 12-episode series, Steven is happy he has a longer time to spend here. He, in fact, is ready to experience the famed Philippine Christmas because he plans to work even during the holidays.

M. R. Cruz, Inquirer/ L. Santiago, TMT