No US arms depots in the Philippines, says Embassy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2017 01:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2017 04:00 PM

U.S. and Filipino soldiers take part in an urban combat drill during a Philippine-U.S. military exercise in Cavite last year. More than 4,000 American troops joined their Filipino counterparts for a series of military exercises in several provinces scheduled for ten days. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

A spokesperson of the US Embassy in Manila denied Tuesday that the United States is building arms depots in some parts of the Philippines.

"No such arms depots exist and there are no plans to build any," US Embassy spokesperson Molly Koscina said. 

The spokesperson's statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte
accused the United States of risking regional stability by building permanent arms depots in the Philippines. Duterte threatened to respond by scrapping a security treaty between them. 

"They're unloading arms in the Philippines now ... I'm serving notice to the armed forces of the United States. Do not do it, I will not allow it," Duterte told a televised news conference.

Koscina said Philippine and US officials agreed to continue implementing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) during the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Board (MDB) and Security Engagement Board (SEB) last November.

She noted EDCA "does not provide for permanent US bases in the Philippines."

"The United States has no intention to re-open military bases in the Philippines. The United States and the Philippines have been allies for many decades, and the United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines. Our defense cooperation has always been provided at the request of various Philippine administrations." 

On Monday, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. General Restituto Padilla said the Philippine military has not found any proof that would support Duterte's claim that the US is building arms depots in some parts of the country.

"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.)

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