MANILA, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — U.S. and Philippine marines and sailors kicked off on Tuesday what could be their last joint military exercises in the Philippines' main Luzon island and Palawan.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila said last month that at least 1,400 U.S. marines based in Okinawa, Japan, and 500 Philippine troops will participate in this year's Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise codenamed PHIBLEX 33.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said this year's PHIBLEX, which wraps up on Oct. 12, will be the last joint war games that will take place during his term which ends in June 2022. PHIBLEX is the first and perhaps the last joint military exercises between the two treaty allies during Duterte's six-year term.
Duterte lamented the U.S does not share military technology with the Philippines. "They asked for a joint maneuvers, operations, and yet there is no capability between the weapons and the armaments they use, and even the communications," he told a news conference on Sept. 30 in Davao City.
The president also said over the weekend that he would review the existing security arrangements with the United States, including the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed in 2014.
The 10-year EDCA allows an increased presence of U.S. forces, ships, aircraft and equipment in the Philippines and greater access to Philippine military bases. Under the new defense accord, U.S. military personnel in the Philippines are to be deployed on a rotational basis.
Earlier, Duterte also called for the expulsion of about 100 U.S. Special Forces posted in Zamboanga City on Mindanao, who were tasked to help the Philippine military fight against terrorism.
He also said he was not going to allow the Philippine military to participate in joint patrols with the U.S. military.
However, Duterte has repeatedly said that the Philippines is not cutting its ties with the United States, saying he is merely pursuing an independent policy.