After Duterte declared end to military exercise, Cabinet officials contradict his announcement

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay denied hearing President Rodrigo Duterte announcing an end to the joint military exercises, or war games, between the Philippines and the United States.

Yasay told reporters that Duterte was likely referring to the joint patrol in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

“We are not going to undertake any joint patrol ever in our exclusive economic zone which is outside of the 12-mile territorial limit in a joint patrol with a gray ship of another country,” said Yasay.

He also said that Duterte will respect the Philippines’ treaty commitments with the US.

“If our agreements with the United States in so far as war games are concerned is there, and these should be done pursuant to the agreement that we have, that will be respected, that will continue,” Yasay said.

The foreign affairs secretary is part of Duterte’s official delegation during his two-day official visit to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Duterte said on September 13 that he did not want Philippine forces to join in patrolling the sea, deeming it as a “hostile act. He added that he only wanted to patrol the Philippines territorial waters to avoid “trouble.”

Asked whether Duterte’s announcement about the next military exercises being the last, Yasay replied: “I have not heard that so I cannot make any comment on that.”


Duterte told the Filipino community in Hanoi on Wednesday night that he wanted to end the joint military exercises between the US and Philippine troops.

“You are scheduled to hold war games again, which China does not want. I will serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise. Jointly, the Philippines, the US, the last one,” Duterte said, adding that he will maintain the treaties the Philippines signed with the US.

One of Duterte’s men, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. clarified to the media that the President likely meant the scheduled military exercises in October will be the last for this year, not for his term.

“Ang pagkakaintindi ko, it’s the last for the year… We will clarify,” said Esperon.

The ANC has a report on Duterte’s announcement about terminating the PH-US joint military exercises. We’re just wondering why Yasay said he did not hear that part of Duterte’s speech when he was in the same stage, watching and listening to Duterte. Did he doze off or excused himself during the said portion of the speech?


This is not the first time Yasay has to issue a statement clarifying Duterte’s remarks. Recently, he attributed Duterte’s announcement about “crossing the Rubicon” or reaching the “point of no return” with the US as the President merely trying to dramatize how he felt about PH-US relationship. Yasay also attributed Duterte’s threats about leaving the United Nations to the President being “tired, disappointed, hungry.”

Sources: (,


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