The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – PPhilippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on October 7 that plans for joint patrols and naval exercises between the Philippines and the US have been postponed as President Rodrigo Duterte desires. 

According to the Defence Secretary, President Duterte wants to halt 28 annual military exercises between the two countries. 

The President stressed that the ongoing “PHIBLEX 33” combat drill, launched on Luzon and Palawan islands on October 4, will be the last in his six-year presidency since he wants to reduce dependence on the US. 

In addition, 107 US troops involved in operating surveillance drones against Muslim militants will be asked to leave the southern part of the country when the Philippines acquires those intelligence-gathering capacities in the near future, said Lorenzara. 

The same day, he also announced that the Philippines could live without aid. The Congress will provide money for the military in case there are no supporting sources. 

Lorenzara’s announcements showed the Duterte administration has for the first time taken particular measures to scale down military cooperation with the US. 

However, the defence chief optimistically said that the two countries’ relations will get better eventually despite difficult times.-VNA