US lays out list of aid to ‘satisfy’ Duterte following VFA payment demand
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ top diplomat in the United States on Friday expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte would be satisfied with a list of military aid the US intends for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
This, after Duterte demanded the US to “pay” if it wants to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines.
“Iyong sinabi ni President Duterte tungkol doon sa pagbayad, ang interpretation namin ay dahil kailangan nang imu-modernize na iyong ating armed forces,” Romualdez said in a televised briefing.
(What President Duterte said about the payment, our interpretation was there is a need to modernize our armed forces.)
Romualdez said they got a list of US military aid from the US Department of Defense or the Pentagon and it appeared “sufficient.”
“Ikinompare namin doon sa list na ipinadala nila kay [Defense] Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana at mukhang sapat naman sa lahat ng mga hinihingi natin. Mukhang kumpleto naman at marami pang dadating na mga kailangan natin na mga armas o whatever hardware that we need from the United States ‘no,” Romualdez said.
(We compared this with the list they sent to Secretary Lorenzana and it looks sufficient in everything that we have asked for. It looks complete and more arms or whatever hardware we need from the United States will be coming.)
“So, hopefully nakita na ng Presidente iyon dahil nandiyan na kay Secretary Lorenzana at iyon, that will probably satisfy the President’s concern regarding itong pag-modernize ng ating armed forces,” he added.
(Hopefully, the President has seen this since it’s already with Secretary Lorenzana and that will probably satisfy the President’s concern on the modernization of our armed forces.)
Before the President demanded for a payment to keep the VFA, Philippines and US officials met to iron out differences over the pact.
But recently, Duterte sought the public’s opinion on the VFA admitting he has not decided whether to continue abrogating the deal or not.
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