AFP belies Duterte claim US building arms depots in PH


Posted at Jan 30 2017 07:20 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2017 01:15 AM

AFP belies Duterte claim US building arms depots in PH 1
US Marines prepare to join the live fire exercise as part of the Philippines-US amphibious landing exercise (PHIBLEX) at Crow Valley in Capas town, Tarlac province, north of Manila on October 10, 2016. Ted Aljibe, AFP.

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has not found any proof that would support President Rodrigo Duterte's claim that the United States is building arms depots in some parts of the country.

At a press briefing on Monday, AFP spokesman Brig. General Restituto Padilla said the AFP could not find any confirmation of the president's claims. 

"There was no confirmed incident of this nature," said Padilla.

On Sunday, the president told a late evening press briefing in Malacanang that he found out the U.S. was unloading arms in the country, which he said was a violation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). 

The President issued a stern warning against the Americans and threatened to abrogate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which is an executive agreement between the two countries. 

But, according to the AFP spokesman, the report that the president might have been referring to may have been an old story.

"Maaaring ito ay report pa noong mga exercises, noong mga nakaraang araw, noong mga nakaraang taon," said Padilla.

(This may have been a report on the previous joint exercises of the past years.)

Padilla said they are still checking how such a report found its way to the President. 

He added that in previous joint military exercises, the U.S. was allowed to bring in tanks and other military hardware.
Padilla said the Americans right now are only building facilities that may be used for disaster response. 

He also confirmed that the AFP will hold a smaller joint military exercise with the U.S. this year. --with a report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News