Philippines: US military can build barracks

Philippines: US military can build barracks

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to erring policemen during an audience at the Presidential Palace grounds in Manila. Duterte has given the green light for 2014 plans to station US troops in the country temporarily. (AP photo)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to erring policemen during an audience at the Presidential Palace grounds in Manila. Duterte has given the green light for 2014 plans to station US troops in the country temporarily. (AP photo)

MANILA - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-ahead for the US military to build barracks and fuel depots in designated local camps where American forces are allowed to temporarily station under a 2014 defence pact, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.

Duterte last month threatened to abrogate the agreement if the United States stores weapons in local camps, saying his country may get entangled if fighting erupts between China and the US He identified three areas where US forces were supposedly bringing in their armaments, including the western Philippine province of Palawan, which faces the disputed South China Sea.

He had said if the US builds an arms depot "I will consider a review and maybe ultimately abrogate" the pact all together.

"I don't know where the president got his information but I corrected it," Lorenzana told reporters Tuesday. He said he also told Duterte that construction in the camps has not started and was scheduled later this year or next year.

"I actually asked his decision if we will continue with the EDCA construction or not," Lorenzana added. "He said OK, let's proceed, but make sure that there is no stockpiling of ammunition there."

The defence chief said he explained to Duterte that the stockpiling of weapons is not allowed by the agreement. The pact allows the US military to build big barracks that can be jointly used by American and Filipino troops, and to put up fuel tanks for their planes and vehicles.

Lorenzana said most of the equipment that the Americans will be bringing to the country will be for humanitarian assistance and disaster response, including rubber boats.

When US troops come to the Philippines for exercises, they will bring their rifles and their ammunition but will take the weapons back with them when they return to the United States, he added.

Duterte took office in June and has moved to rebuild once-frosty relations with China while repeatedly threatening to scale back military exercises with American troops and stop agreements that allow US forces to visit.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (1)

Tesla with 'no one' driving crashes, killing two

A Tesla electric car that "no one" appeared to be driving crashed late Saturday in Texas, erupting into flames and killing the two passengers, according to local authorities.

19 Apr 2021

Huawei steps up smart car business

HONG KONG: Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies unveiled its Huawei HI intelligent automotive solution on Sunday.

19 Apr 2021

Schools still set to reopen May 17

All primary and secondary schools are still scheduled to reopen on May 17, but this could change if the coronavirus spike is not reined in, Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said on Monday.

19 Apr 2021