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PH to buy arms from Israel, SK instead of US

PRESIDENT Duterte awards a housing unit at Pleasant View Residences, Barangay Graceville, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan to a soldier wounded in battle. (Jansen Romero)

The government prefers to acquire military equipment from Israel and South Korea instead of its longtime traditional ally United States to enhance its defense arsenal, President Duterte disclosed last Thursday.

The President said he would no longer buy arms from the US after frowning on Washington’s threat to sanction countries engaging trade with China or Russia.

“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,” Duterte said during the turnover of housing units to soldiers and policemen in Bulacan.

“Kung magbili ka, sabihin mo, hindi ako makabili sa China kasi kasali ka doon sa embargo, napakapangit naman. Para kang walang utang na loob. You have to be a warrior to see the difference of what is a matter of principle and a matter of honor. Kaya sabi ko, magbili tayo either Israel or Korea, period,” he added.

The President noted that US President Donald Trump recently announced moves to prohibit countries
“including us” from any transaction with China and Russia.

Duterte opposed any inclusion of an anti-China or Russia clause in the country’s trading ties with the US, saying the two countries were among those who rushed to the country’s aid when it was in need.

“I will not agree to buy. Pangit tingnan. Hindi maganda. It does not sit well with the Filipino na ganunin ka tapos pasunod-sunod ka na lang,” he said.

He recalled that he received a letter signed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and then Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to reconsider his decision on the purchase of defense equipment.

Duterte made clear that he was not angry with the United States, recalling that it made the first move when the past Obama administration criticized his war on illegal drugs. “Wala naman akong galit sa kanila. Sila ‘yung nauna. And they criticized me heavily dito sa drugs,” he said. (Genalyn Kabiling)

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