- The AFP has belied Duterte’s claim that US is building an ‘arms depot’ in the country
- A military official said the President may have based his pronouncements on old information
- The official added there is no confirmed incident of such nature
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was forced to deny President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the United States is building a permanent arms depot in the country which he said he cannot allow to continue.
In a statement on Monday, AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said Duterte may have based his pronouncements on old information since they have not found any proof to support the President’s claim.
“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,” said Padilla.
“Based on the report given to us, there is no such report gathered from these locations and this information could probably come from the exercise last year,” the military official explained.
On Sunday, January 29, Duterte revealed during a press conference that the US has been unloading arms in the Philippines and he has served notice to its armed forces regarding the matter.
He also warned Washington that permanent facilities in the country are violations of the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“Provisions of the Visiting Forces (Agreement), there shall be no permanent facilities. A depot is by any other name a depot. It’s a permanent structure to house arms,” Duterte said.
“I do not even know if there is a nuclear tip (missile) now, that they are unloading,” the President added.
But Padilla said there is no confirmed incident of such nature.
“Last year, we conducted huge military exercises wherein they (US) were authorized to unload tanks at Subic Bay so it might have been borne out of these reports and we’re still checking how it came to be,” he said.