Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday wondered aloud whether military alliances were still relevant in this day and age, adding he had no plan of scrapping military alliances, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
In a speech during an oath-taking ceremony at the Malacanang presidential palace, Duterte said, “I do not mean to cancel or abrogate the military alliances.”
The Philippines has bilateral security alliance with the US bound by the Mutual Defence Treaty that Washington and Manila signed in 1951.
The Philippines also regularly conducted joint war games with US troops.
But Duterte said the trainings only benefited the Americans and not the Philippine troops.
“Let us go for alliances that would contribute to the health, to the education if there is a world out there waiting for our children. Otherwise we have to protect them,” he said.
Duterte, who assumed the presidency on June 30, said he wanted to terminate military exercises with the US military during his term and prohibited the Philippine military from joining in joint patrols in the South China Sea.
Last Sep 28, he said PHIBLEX 33, the US-Philippine joint military exercise, could be the last during his six-year term in office.
On Tuesday, the US and Philippine marines wrapped up their amphibious landing exercises and live-fire training in the Philippines, a day ahead of the scheduled closing.