Duterte not inclined to send troops to Iran
MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte will not send Philippine troops to the Middle East amid the escalating tension between the United States and Iran.
“Out of the question. Out of the question. Unless the national interest would demand it and it will be decided not by me, but me and Congress,” Duterte said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joining the conflict in the Gulf region.
The President earlier ordered the military to prepare its air and naval assets for the possible repatriation of OFWs in the Middle East after the US launched an airstrike that killed Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, in Iraq.
In a press briefing Tuesday, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President would side with the Americans if Filipinos are harmed in Iran.
But Duterte said it is just a “projection” if the situation in the Middle East – home of millions of Filipino workers – worsens.
The President also said that the Philippines will honor its defense treaty with the US but won’t allow American troops to use the country as their launching pad.
“But to use the Philippines as a launching pad to fly the missiles and the rockets, I do not think that… I have to stop,” he said.
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