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Contrary to Duterte’s claims, AFP says US not unloading arms in PHL


The United States is not unloading weapons in certain areas in Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, and Pampanga as President Rodrigo Duterte alleged in a late night press conference, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Monday.

AFP spokesman Brig Gen. Restituto Padilla said the President's pronouncement at a late night press conference could have been based on old information as regards past military exercises.

“The President's announcement last night I think was checked by the Armed Forces and it was found out that there was no confirmed incident of this nature,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

“Base po sa sinabi at naibigay sa aming report, wala naman pong ganyang report na nakuha sa mga lugar na ito at maaring ito ay report pa nung mga exercises noong mga nakaraang taon na,” he added.

“Noong nagkaroon tayo ng mga exercises na pangmalakihan noong mga nakaraang taon, authorized silang magbaba ng kanilang tangke diyan sa Subic Bay para gamitin sa exercises so it might have been borne out of those reports and we're still checking how it came to be,” Padilla said.

In a late press conference Sunday, Duterte warned the United States not to unload arms in the Philippines amid disputes in the South China Sea.

“Itong Amerika, they are unloading arms in the Philippines now. I'm serving notice to US Armed Forces, do not do it,” Duterte said, adding that the arms depot were in Palawan, Cagayan de Oro City, and Pampanga.

Padilla said the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) allowed the construction of certain facilities.

He said the construction of facilities in certain military installations was actually geared to make the country prepared and respond faster during humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) situations.

“Kaya kung may ilalagay man na warehouse o mga pagtataguan ng mga bagay na kagamitan o anumang bagay, lahat ng ilalagay po diyan ay pwedeng gamitin sa mga HADR situation o pagtugon sa mga sakuna,” Padilla said.

He said among the equipment were generators, vehicles, rubber boats, and shelter materials such as tents, and water purifiers.

Padilla said fuel storage facilities were allowed because in the event of an HADR scenario, the troops would need to refuel their aircraft for continued relief and rescue sorties. —NB, GMA News