President Rodrigo Duterte would prefer to not have foreign soldiers stationed in various regions in the country, a longstanding norm particularly with US troops.
According to the president, it was his dream to one day only have Filipino soldiers especially since having foreign forces in the country paints a portrait of war, GMA News reported.
“I look forward to the time when I no longer see any military troops or soldier in my country except the Filipino soldier,” he said.
"Hangarin ko po yan na wala na akong makitang sundalo sa ibang bayan kundi yung sundalo ng Pilipinas,” he added.
Duterte’s statement comes after he announced a separation from the United States during his state visit to China last week. When asked, he said his statement only meant reinforcing the country’s independent foreign policy and not the total severing of ties with our longtime ally.
Aside from this, Duterte said the US troops in Mindanao should leave as they were in danger of being abducted in exchange for ransom by the Abu Sayyaf Group.
However, the Inquirer reports that US soldiers staying at the Western command headquarters are still in Mindanao. Army officials said the government has yet to hand down a formal order asking the Americans to leave.
The president is currently in Japan for his second state visit from October 25 to 27. The Asian country, for its part, has leased five light surveillance airplanes to the Philippines for only $9,000 per year, Philstar reported.
The aircraft, a fighter TC-90 plane and four TC-90 propeller light planes will be used for local maritime operations.