bocageanbay city, Philippines—As tensions rise between the Philippine Navy and the Philippine National Police, the US government is preparing a military aid package to the Philippines, according to a new report.
The report, written by the US Embassy in Manila, comes after President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order to cut all ties with the United States over the alleged human rights violations in his country.
“The United States will no longer provide military assistance to the Philippine Government,” the president said in a written statement on Wednesday.
The order, announced at the start of his first foreign trip, was a response to criticism that the US was “supporting and enabling” the Philippines’ war against drugs.
The State Department said it would continue to “work with the Philippine government to address concerns about human rights and democracy,” according to its press release.
It said the aid package would be delivered “through a series of bilateral assistance programs designed to enhance the ability of the Philippine armed forces to respond to and counter the rising threat of terrorism.”
The State and Defense departments said in their statement that the assistance package “will assist the Philippine Armed Forces to better address the challenges of countering terrorism, enhance national security, and secure the peace and security of the Philippines.”
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has called for the US to stop providing “training and support to the armed forces of the Filipino government and government forces” following Duterte’s order.
The Philippine government has denied the allegations.
The US, which is building an airbase in the Philippines for the new aircraft carrier USS George Washington, has said that it will provide “equipment, training, and assistance to Philippine Armed Force units” in the fight against drugs in the country.
The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Roa Duterte speaks during the annual ASEAN Economic and Social Dialogue in Manila on July 7, 2021.
The move comes after the US imposed sanctions on the Philippines earlier this month over the war on drugs, which Duterte has said has led to the deaths of more than 3,500 people.US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet with Duterte in the coming days to discuss the ongoing war on drug trafficking.
The two sides also discussed “strategic cooperation in combating terrorism,” the State Department’s statement said.
The latest US sanctions were a response last month to Duterte’s declaration that the Philippine military had killed and maimed hundreds of people.
The president has said the bodies of people killed in the war were from his side and that the police have committed “felony killings.”
The US has accused the Philippine police of killing people, sometimes with the help of the armed groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.