- Title: Philippines' defence minister says military can cope without U.S. aid
- Date: 7th October 2016
- Summary: MANILA, PHILIPPINES (OCTOBER 7, 2016) (REUTERS) NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS PHILIPPINE DEFENCE MINISTER, DELFIN LORENZANA, SITTING IN PANEL WITH OTHER JOURNALISTS VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS SITTING BEHIND TABLES LORENZANA SITTING (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHILIPPINE DEFENCE MINISTER, DELFIN LORENZANA, SAYING: "Our Congress is actually giving us money now for the procurement of our equipment, so I believe they will be giving us more if we have no more source of other funds." JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTIONS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHILIPPINE DEFENCE MINISTER, DELFIN LORENZANA, SAYING: "The president is trying to develop a relationship with the United States that is not too dependent on one country. He wants to open up relationships with others." VARIOUS OF JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTIONS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHILIPPINE DEFENCE MINISTER, DELFIN LORENZANA, SAYING: "Maybe we should re-assess (the relationship). Are we benefiting, are we getting what we should be getting from alliance or the Americans as well? Is it time for us to look at other source of our materials? It is part of this growing up." VARIOUS OF LORENZANA SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS AFTER NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 22nd October 2016 07:47
- Keywords: Philippines defence minister military United States
- Location: MANILA, PHILIPPINES
- City: MANILA, PHILIPPINES
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00153092DJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The Philippine military could manage if treaty ally the United States were to withdraw aid, the defence minister said on Friday (October 7).
The Philippines intended to buy arms from China and Russia and there had been no adverse reaction from within the military to President Rodrigo Duterte's vows to scale back defence ties with the United States, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana's remarks suggested he was following other top officials in Duterte's administration in rallying behind the maverick president's tough anti-U.S. agenda after weeks of scrambling to manage the fallout from his outbursts and threats to downgrade the alliance.
Lorenzana had on Wednesday (October 5) set a conciliatory tone, saying Duterte may have been misinformed when he said U.S.-Philippine military exercises were no benefit to his country.
But on Friday Lorenzana said the value of U.S. military aid to the Philippines was "not that much", and the military could ask Congress to make up for a shortfall of some $50 million-$100 million a year in U.S. military aid.
Duterte, well known for a ruthless stand against crime from his years as mayor of a southern city, won election in May on a promise to wipe out drugs and drug dealers.
Some 3,600 people have been killed in his anti-drugs drive and he has been enraged by questions about human rights, from the United States and others that the bloodshed has raised.
Duterte said on Thursday (October 6) if the United States and European Union objected to his drugs war and wished to withdraw aid, they should do so, and the Philippines would not beg.
Lorenzana said he believed Duterte's objective was to diversify Philippines' foreign ties and cut dependency on former colonial ruler the United States.
"Maybe we should re-assess (the relationship). Are we benefiting, are we getting what we should be getting from alliance or the Americans as well? Is it time for us to look at other source of our materials? It is part of this growing up," Lorenzana said.
On Monday (October 3), Duterte said U.S. President Barack Obama should "go to hell".
Lorenzana said Duterte was sensitive to concerns about his drugs war and it was likely the president would dial down his rhetoric if questions from the West about human rights stopped.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby responded to that saying total U.S. assistance to the Philippines in the fiscal year that began on October 1 was $180 million "and we're committed" to delivering that.
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