Lorenzana: US to give P869 million worth of military equipment to PH in December

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2020 09:26 PM

Members of the military's Joint Task Force hold a final briefing and send off at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on March 14, 2020 before they are deployed to different parts of the metro to support and enforce the community lockdown meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The United States will handover P869 million worth of military equipment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines next month, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.

The transfer of defense and military equipment was discussed in a meeting he had with US Chargé d'Affaires John Law last Friday in Camp Aguinaldo.

"We talked about [the] equipment they are offering. They have given us $18 million worth of equipment, military equipment next month," Lorenzana told reporters, describing those as "precision-guided munitions which can be dropped with pinpoint accuracy."

The equipment transfer is covered by the Excess Defense Article Program of the US, according to an official who requested anonymity.

As well, Lorenzana and Law discussed the Visiting Forces Agreement of the two countries, which President Rodrigo Duterte abrogated in February but had since twice suspended it amid the pandemic and other prevailing challenges in the region.

As regards the US foreign policy in light of the election of former Vice President Joe Biden to the White House, Lorenzana said Law gave assurance that it will remain the same.

"Don't worry, whoever is the (US) president, the alliance will remain the same," Lorenzana said of Manila and Washington's relations.

The two talked about the situation in the West Philippine Sea, which China continues to claim despite a 2016 arbitration ruling recognizing the Philippines' maritime rights there.

Finally, Lorenzana said Law reiterated the commitment of the his government to help address the "crisis" in apparent reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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