Monday, September 12, President Duterte asked the US Special Forces to leave Mindanao which according to the President, they are in danger. Duterte says that their presence would only worsen the situation, and they could be kidnapped or even killed.
“The special forces, they have to go. They have to go. In Mindanao, there are many whites there,” the President said in Malacañan during the oathtaking of new appointees.
Duterte added that once Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members see an Americans, they would demand ransom and kill them.
On Tuesday, September 12, the Philippine Army stated that they are waiting for specific orders regarding the statement of the President relating to the pulling out of US soldiers in Mindanao.
According to Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Military Public Affairs Chief, “We take due notice of the pronouncement of the Commander-in-Chief President Rodrigo Duterte expressing his concern for the safety of US servicemen in Mindanao.”
On the other hand, John Kirby, U.S State Department spokesman said that there was no official order regarding the call for the withdrawal of U.S Troops deployed in Mindanao.
“I’ve seen the comments. I’ve seen them in press reporting, and what I can tell you is that we’re not aware of any official communication by the Philippine Government to that effect and to seek that result. So we’re going to stay in touch with our counterparts in the Philippine Government,” Kirby said in a press conference last September 12.
“We maintain concerns about the safety of our troops all around the world. It’s one of the prime considerations of American military leadership,” He added.
The US Special forces deployed in Mindanao specifically in Zamboanga, are assisting Philippine Soldiers in their campaign against terrorist.
The US Special forces are only allowed to support the Philippine Soldiers thru training and information sharing but not to engage in combat directly.