According to the aviation security police, the military units of the United States has started pulling out their equipment, including their transport vehicles, in Zamboanga on Tuesday last week, October 4.
Senior Inspector Roderick Salem, Police Aviation Security Chief, confirmed the arrival of a US-C17 transport airplane at the Zamboanga International Airport on Tuesday.
He also said that the American troops have been securing their cargoes and a few service vehicles near the control tower before loading in unto the C-17 Globe Master. The plane immediately flew out after being loaded with equipment.
He also confirmed that the US military coordinated with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for the arrival of the transport plane, save for the actual schedule of arrival for security reasons.
The US troops have been providing training and technical assistance to Filipino soldiers for the last 13 years. The American soldiers have been deployed on rotation in Philippine soil for the same number of years, but most of their troops were pulled out when the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) ended in July of 2015.
The US military, however, left a few military personnel deployed on Philippine soil on liaison basis, along with their equipment.
The pull out of the US armed Forces of their cargoes and equipment may be assumed to be in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s public announcement that he wanted them out of Mindanao. He also blamed them for inspiring local Muslim insurgencies in the region.
Ever since Duterte began his term as president of the Philippines, the strong ties between the US and the Philippines as long-time allies have been shaken.
In many public pronouncements, President Duterte openly expressed his desire to pursue an independent foreign policy, which is free from the clout of the US. He is also eyeing to strengthen ties with China and with Russia.
Meanwhile, both the Western Mindanao Command and the US Embassy have yet to issue a statement about the equipment pull out of the US Armed Forces.