The Philippines will no longer do business with the United States in terms of buying arms and equipment.
This was bared no less by President Rodrigo Duterte, who on Thursday said his administration will no longer purchase arms from the US after the world superpower said that it would impose sanctions on countries buying military equipment from Russia.
In a speech in front of soldiers in Bulacan, Duterte said he decided on such a move after an American senator raised concerns about alleged human rights violations here.
Duterte said that aside from Russia, the US was also against Manila purchasing arms from China.
“Pagka bumili ka sa China o maybe Russia, magsali ka sa embargo. You cannot trade with America. So para kang inipit doon sa ano. Eh sabi ko naman sa—your superiors and the civilian leaders, with that kind of arrangement, do not expect me to buy arms from the United States,” he said.
(If you buy arms from China or Russia, you will be sanctioned due to the arms embargo. You cannot trade with America. So it’s like you’re pushed to a corner. I said to the superiors and civilian leaders, with that kind of arrangement, do not expect me to buy arms from the United States.)
Instead, the president said he is now inclined to buy arms from other countries, such as Israel and South Korea.
“I will not agree to buy [from the US]. Pangit tingnan. Hindi maganda. It does not sit well with the Filipino na ganunin ka tapos pasunod-sunod ka na lang. Wala naman akong galit sa kanila. Sila ‘yung nauna. And they criticized me heavily dito sa drugs,” he said.
(I will not agree to buy [from the US]. It looks bad. It would not sit well with Filipinos that you are being told what to do. I am not angry at them, but they were the first to hit me. And they criticized me heavily for my war on drugs.)
This despite the announcement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last month that the Philippines will buy 16 Black Hawk helicopters from the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp for P12.67 billion ($240 million), instead of the cheaper Russian equipment due to U.S. sanctions on Russian military exports.
The Philippines will spend P300 billion ($5.6 billion) over the next five years to upgrade its defense capability, replacing World War II-era warships and Vietnam War-vintage fighters and helicopters.
Recently, the Philippines bought fighter jets from South Korea, logistics ships from Indonesia, and armored vehicles and ship-borne missiles from Israel.