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Top US commander warns ending Philippines security pact could damage fight against terrorism

Top US commander warns ending Philippines security pact could damage fight against terrorism

A top US commander has warned ending a security pact with the Philippines would hurt counter-terrorism efforts in the country’s restive south. Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, said he hoped President Rodrigo Duterte would rethink his decision to scrap a deal allowing US forces to be based in the country.

The comment puts him at odds with commander-in-chief Donald Trump, AFP reported. Trump has said he would be “fine” with the end of the visiting forces agreement as it would save the US “a lot of money.”

Manila has given “180 days’ notice, so we have some time for diplomatic efforts,” Davidson said at an event in Sydney on Thursday. “I hope we can get to a successful outcome.”

Davidson insisted the move would hamper military operations in Duterte’s home island of Mindanao – where separatist and Islamist violence has killed some 100,000 people.