PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said the Philippines is not cutting ties with its allies.
The President made the remark a day after he called for the withdrawal of US special forces soldiers from Mindanao.
"We are not going to cut our umbilical cord to countries we are allied with," Duterte said in a speech at the 48th anniversary of the 250th Presidential Air Lift Wing at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Earlier, foreign affairs officials said that treaties between the country and the US would be honored and security ties were "rock solid" despite Duterte's criticisms of Washington.
At the ASEAN summit in Laos, Duterte stunned other delegates when he denounced what he called atrocities under American colonial rule of the Philippines following his run-in with US President Barack Obama.
Back in the Philippines he said US special forces units stationed in the restive south under a defense treaty should leave because they were complicating counter-insurgency operations.
Duterte said during an oath-taking ceremony for state officials on Monday that US special forces in Zamboanga "must go" because they could become high-value targets for the Islamist Abu Sayyaf rebels, who are notorious for kidnapping and beheading foreigners.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said Duterte's remarks, including that the southern Philippines "would never have peace" while allied with Washington, should not be taken as a signal that a pact between them would be abrogated.
"We assure our people and allies that Philippine-U.S. defense relations remain rock solid," Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said in a statement.