The Philippine Army’s leadership of the entire army does not see a significant impact on the US plan to stop providing security assistance to the Philippines.
In an interview, Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, if the United States finally stops providing security assistance to the Philippines, the capability build-up of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue through their modernization program.
Sobejana said that the said proposal of the US Congress to make the Philippines “self reliant” is also a message, especially in its defense capabilities.
According to the general, there is SRDP law or the Self-Reliant Defense Posture and they will only revive it.
President Rodrigo Duterte also has a directive to the AFP that military reservations should be turned into revenue generating assets to finance and expedite the modernization program of the Philippine Armed Forces.
Sobejana strongly believes that the country can be self reliant without relying on help from their US counterpart.
“We need to accelerate our modernization so with the guidance of the President na magiging revenue generating asset itong ating mga military reservations, I think it will greatly help fastrack our modernization program,” said Lt.Gen. Sobejana.
Sobejana also clarified that if the US stops providing security assistance, their bilateral agreement with the United States will not be affected.
“‘Yung bilateral agreement between the two countries ay wala namang pagbabago yun it will continue, ang ating Pangulo at Pangulo ng Ameika ay magkakaibigan, and we have good working relationship with our counterpart ang US Army. Hindi naman tayo lang ang beneficiary sa bilateral ties may mga natutunan din ang US sa atin,” added Sobejana.
Sobejana, on the other hand, stressed that it is unfair to call them human rights violators even though no case has been reported to the AFP that they have violated human rights.
”I’m proud to report to the public that there’s no human rights violation being committed by our soldiers in the implementation of our mandate and I would like also to share we do our job following the rule of law with all due respect in Human Rights and strictly adhere to the commission on International Humanitarian Law, ”Sobejana said.