THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is yet to receive any notice on how they would implement the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that US forces deployed in the Southern part of the country should leave the area, a military official said Tuesday.
AFP chief of Public Affairs Office Edgardo Arevallo said taking effect such pronouncement from the commander-in-chief will still undergo deliberation, particularly of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
"We take due notice of the pronouncement of the Commander-in-Chief President Rodrigo Duterte expressing his concern of the safety of US Servicemen in Mindanao. Pursuant to the same statement, he desires that our American counterparts should be eased from harms way. This refers to Western Mindanao, in particular areas like Zamboanga, Basilan and Sulu, where intense focused military operations combatting terrorism are ongoing," he said.
"We are yet to receive any specific directive as to how this pronouncement will be effected. We understand that the implementation of the said pronouncement is the subject of deliberations by concerned departments like DND and DFA to mention some," he added.
In 2002, troops from the US, the country's treaty ally, were deployed in Mindanao to work with Filipino soldiers in its fights against the Abu Sayyaf Group, the local counterpart of international terrorist group Al-Qaida.
In February 2015, the US withdrew its forces in the said area and left only few soldiers to continue assistance to the Filipino troops.
On Monday, Duterte said US servicemen in Mindanao "should go" as their presence in the area results to more insurgencies.
“For as long as we stay with America, we will never have peace in that land,” he said.
However, the AFP assured that the Philippines and US defense relations will remain rock solid as future activities lined-up for the US and Filipino troops "will continue without interruption." (Sunnex)