Philippine president to order review of defense pact with US

Philippine president to order review of defense pact with US

Manila, Oct 3 (IANS) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that he will order a review of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between his country and the US.

Duterte made the remarks at a local festival in Bacolod City in central Philippines, Xinhua reported.

He said, “Now, may I remind the Americans that … it (EDCA) is an official document, but it was only signed by an aide, (former Defense Secretary Voltaire) Gazmin. It does not bear the signature of the president of the Republic of the Philippines, (Benigno) Aquino. Aquino did not sign it.”

The Philippine president warned, “We will get out and after a review of the document and if I find (out) that there is no signature, if you can not produce a signature bearing the permit to conduct war games …”

In Bacolod, Duterte also lashed out at critics who warned that some American businesses might pull out investments, and he shrugged off threats that such moves might affect the country’s economy.

“My message to the Americans (is that) we will never go hungry,” said the Philippine president, who accused the US last week of “undermining” the Philippine peso, causing the Philippine currency to plunge to a seven-year low.

He vowed to “open up another front in the Philippine foreign policy,” saying that “If you are rude to me, then let’s just make separate ways.”

Duterte also said he “will give a policy statement in the coming days,” but he did not elaborate.

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