Duterte: No more US-PH Balikatan exercises in 2017

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday that he had already told Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to cancel any preparations for next year's military exercises with the United States (US) troops.

At the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard held in its headquarters in Manila, Duterte stood by his prior decision to end the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US.

“There will be no more exercises next year. Do not prepare. I told the Defense Secretary Lorenzana, ‘Do not make preparations for next year. I do not want it anymore,’” the President said.

Duterte, however, clarified that the Philippines would remain an ally of the Americans.

“We will not break our alliances – the US-[Philippines]. But we need not really, you know, [to] break or abrogate existing treaties because they say that [these] would provide us with the umbrella,” Duterte said.

“We will maintain our military alliances because I said that we need it for our defense, should World War III come to a fore upon the civilization,” he added.

The President, who lashed at US President Barack Obama and other US officials for criticizing his deadly war on drugs, had initially said that he might cut ties with them but eventually retracted his pronouncement. (Sunnex)

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