The chief of staff of the Philippine armed forces said five military exercises with the United States will be scrapped next year on the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to media reports.
It comes after Duterte, who has made disparaging remarks about President Obama in the past, said he wanted foreign troops to leave his country within two years while on a recent visit to Tokyo. The Philippines has been a long-term U.S. ally.
Gen. Ricardo Visaya told reporters Wednesday that U.S. officials respected the Philippines’ plan to cut the number of drills from 263 to 258, the Associated Press reported. They will include at least two major naval drills — an Amphibious Landing Exercise and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training.
Visaya said future exercises will be focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counterterrorism, the AP reported.
As many as 600 U.S. troops are currently stationed in the Philippines, and at least two major training exercises involving American and other forces are held in the country each year.