Duterte expressed willingness to send Filipino soldiers to Arab states allies in separate events in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama and here.
During a business meeting in Manama last Friday, Duterte said he is committed to standing by Bahrain “at all times.”
“I said that if you need us, you just call and if you want even, if things break lose, I hope it will not. I pray to God that it will remain fundamentally on the side of the Middle East this time. But there’s a violent activity going on. But we are ready to help you,” the president said.
“If you need troops here, just in the borders for show, just put it in writing that they are here for training, but they can stay here if you want. If you want us to stay for a moment, fine. If you want to deploy us here, we will agree because of our national interest and the lives of the Filipinos,” he added.
Duterte said he is prepared to send a battalion, a regiment and even a division of soldiers just to protect Bahrain.
In an investment forum here last Saturday, Duterte said Filipino troops are ready to “protect and defend” Qatar.
“There are millions of Filipinos here. You can be sure that if you need us, we will come here. Do not worry about discipline,” the president said.
“Just like any other Army in the world, they are very disciplined. And they can fight. Fight our national interest here and to protect and defend you,” he added.
Duterte issued a similar though more general statement in a meeting with the Filipino community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last Wednesday.
The president said he assured Saudi Arabia King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud that the Philippines is a “loyal friend” of his country.
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“We are a good ally we are a loyal friends and we will stand by you,” the president said.
“You (Saudi Arabia) have treated my countrymen good, you have somehow improved the education of the young because of the remittances of the money by the Filipino worker. We owe you a lot, and that is why I said we remain to be your ally. And we are by your (side) whatever it is there that needs an ally to do,” he added.
The Philippine military has been perceived as one of the weakest in Southeast Asia because of its lack of equipment. The weakness has been pinpointed as one of the reasons for the failure of the Philippines to prevent intrusions in areas it is claiming in the South China Sea.
Esperon: No deployment to Middle East
Speaking to reporters here Sunday, national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. clarified that there would be no “military operational deployment” to the Middle East.
“It would be on the basis of training which we have yet to set up. This will probably take another six months to one year. This will be very selective and it will be probably based on specialized courses or trainings,” Esperon said in a press conference Sunday here.
“There is no such thing as military operational deployment although in this area in Bahrain we are part of what we would call Coalition Maritime Force. We send observers to that,” he added.
Esperon said military assistance can also come in the form of exchange of intelligence information.
SOURCE ► PHILSTAR