Latest Stories

Palace defends use of US drones in PH


Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—While a mayor rejected the basing of United States drones in his city, Malacañang on Friday defended the use in the country of the unmanned aerial vehicle in “special cases.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte declined to comment on the rejection by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the US government’s request to use the city’s old airport as a base for the launch of drones.

“I am not very cognizant of what went on in that particular conversation,” Valte said in a news briefing.

But otherwise, Valte said the Philippines and the United States shared intelligence information gathered by the drones in joint exercises. She said the drones were also used for humanitarian missions.

“I understand that they are used in special cases,” she said, referring to statements by the secretary of foreign affairs.

Valte deferred to the defense officials to respond to questions on whether Philippine laws are clear on the operation of drones in the archipelago.

Duterte said he rejected the request, made since his daughter was the city mayor, because he didn’t want “trouble and killings.”

The US Embassy explained that the US military deployed drones to assist in aerial surveillance for humanitarian and search-and-rescue operations, and only at the request of the Philippine government.

For instance, drones were deployed for an aerial survey of the devastation wrought by Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao in December last year, and in the search for the missing plane of then Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in the waters off Masbate a year ago.

Several countries have raised concerns about the US deployment of drones in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan to target suspected terrorists,  arguing that some strikes have resulted in  civilian deaths and collateral damage.

In the United States, at least eight states have enacted legislation to control domestic use of drones, citing privacy and safety concerns.

If used for combat operations in the country, the drones would violate the country’s Constitution, analyst Bobby Tuazon said.

“The VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) does not allow combat operations by US forces,” Tuazon, director for policy studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance said in an interview.

In March 2012, President Aquino said the Philippines allowed US drones to conduct reconnaissance flights over the country, but banned drone strikes.

Mr. Aquino said any drone attack would violate the ban on American troops taking part in combat operations.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Abigail Valte , Davao City , Mayor Rodrigo Duterte , Philippine laws , US drones

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Pope’s Easter Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’
  • Sports

  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace