(PNA File Photo)

If the Ukraine-Russia conflict crosses over to Asia, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte may open the country’s facilities to the US.

When asked if Pres. Duterte would be attending the next Asean-US Summit in Washington, DC, Romualdez made the remark.

“[The President] was half and half about it. He says that there is no real compelling reason for him to attend. He says if they’re asking for the support of the Philippines, he was very clear that if push comes to shove, the Philippines will be ready to be part of the effort, especially if this Ukrainian crisis spills over to the Asian region,” the envoy shared.

“He offered that the Philippines would be ready to open its doors, especially to our ally the United States in using our facilities, any facilities they may need,” he added.

The envoy said Duterte might allow the use of Clark for “some of the aircraft that the US may need for supplies” or Subic for the US Navy in the context of an “emergency situation”. The former US air and naval bases were stationed in Clark and Subic before these were closed in the 1990s.

“Let’s pray it does not happen but if it spreads out in the Asian region for some reason or another, the President obviously sees that need for us to make a choice and our choice is obviously… since we have an MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty) with the US, we have this special relationship and military alliance, he said he is allowing the use of facilities,” he said.

The MDT is an accord signed in 1951 that stipulates that the Philippines and the US would support each other if either of them were to be attacked by an external party.

At the end of the forum, Romualdez said while Duterte values the friendship that he made with Russian President Vladimir Putin, “he knows that this thing that’s happening right now in Ukraine is obviously something that should not have happened because it was unprovoked”.

In a separate virtual event hosted by the Rotary Club of Manila, Romualdez said Russia’s nuclear weapons are a matter of grave concern for everyone in the world.

“You can just imagine the thin line that they have to traverse, both for the US and the NATO nations. Let’s just hope and pray that this will not be something like what happened in World War 2, we have to always think back on what happened during those days when Hitler decided to go to Poland and extend it to the rest of Europe and it spilled over to the Asian region,” he said. (PNA)

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