MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine defense chief says President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-ahead for U.S. military construction of barracks in designated local camps where American forces are allowed to temporarily station under a 2014 defense pact.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday that Duterte told him the construction under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement can proceed but for him to make sure no weapons will be stockpiled in the facilities.
Duterte earlier threatened to abrogate the agreement if the United States stored weapons locally, expressing concern his country may get entangled if fighting erupts between China and the U.S. He identified three areas where U.S. forces were supposedly bringing in their armaments.
Lorenzana said he corrected that information and told Duterte no stockpiling of weapons is allowed under the agreement.