Duterte says he is against 2014 defense pact with US

Manila, Nov 11 (IANS) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he is against the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that Manila and Washington signed in 2014.

With the statement, Duterte again hinted that he might scrap the agreement that allows prolonged deployment of American forces in the country as well as build logistics hub in Philippine military bases.

Duterte, who arrived in Davao City after an overnight official visit to Malaysia, told a news conference that he does not want to see any foreign troops on Philippine soil, Xinhua news agency reported.

He added that the joint military activities that will be carried out this year by the Philippine and US troops would probably be the last.

Duterte also said that he is against the joint war games between the Philippines and US forces as only the US soldiers benefit from these exercises.

He added that the Americans do not share their sophisticated and state-of the-art communication equipment with Philippine troops.

In October, he also told a business forum in Tokyo during his visit in Japan that he wants his country “freed of the presence of foreign military troops” in the next two years.

“I want them out, and if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, I will,” he had said.

Asked whether there would be changes in policies with the new US administration, Duterte said, “I will pursue what I’ve started.”

He reiterated that the Philippines will continue to honour the treaties that the Philippines signed with the US, including the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.