Manila, Oct 4: Supporters of a Philippine militant group on Tuesday protested in front of the US embassy here to denounce what could be the last joint military exercise between the two countries under the term of the current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The US and Philippine marines on Tuesday kicked off a joint military exercises in the Philippines’ main Luzon island and Palawan.
Protesters aligned with the Bayan group said they supported Duterte’s stand that this year’s PHIBLEX, which wraps up on October 12, will be the last joint war games that will take place during his term which ends in June 2022, EFE news reported.
The US embassy in Manila said in September that at least 1,400 US marines based in Okiwa, Japan, and 500 Philippine troops will participate in this year’s Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise codemed PHIBLEX 33, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We would like to show... our support to President Duterte because he wanted to have an independent foreign policy free from the dictates of the US imperialists,” said one of the protesters.
Supporters waved flags and banners bearing slogans such as “US troops out now” and set fire to a mock US flag with skulls and crossbones in the place of stars, bearing the slogan “US Imperialism”.
The current eight-day military exercises includes training in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. Under the new defence accord, the US military personnel in the Philippines are to be deployed on a rotatiol basis.
Earlier, Duterte also called for the expulsion of about 100 US Special Forces posted in Zamboanga city on Mindao, who were tasked to help the country’s military fight against terrorism. (IANS)