US vows protection in time of attack, arms sale: Panelo

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“The first message of the Secretary of State to the President was: President Trump was extending his warm greetings to the President. Number two: We have your back in the South China Sea,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said during the March 1 press briefing.

He added that President Duterte and Secretary Pompeo discussed “the usual concerns on terrorism and bilateral relations between the two countries.”

“The President also thanked him for the courtesy call, and the President says overwhelming Filipinos are in favor of the Americans. So he doesn’t think he could go against that,” Panelo said.

Panelo also reiterated that Pompeo said “that any attack against any vessel of the Philippines will trigger the application of the Mutual Defense Treaty – which means they will support the Philippines.”

He also said that according to the US side if there is an attack then US will be protecting and helping in Philippines’ defense. He added that the US will “be providing us with arms – but not free. We’re going to buy it from them.”