President Rodrigo Duterte will take the side of Americans should Filipinos get harmed in the ongoing United States-Iran conflict, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday.
“Hindi tayo magiging neutral. The President was very specific in saying last night that if the Filipinos are harmed, he will side with the Americans,” he said in a media briefing.
Since the Philippines is a known ally of the US, Filipinos in the Middle East might get involved in the clash between the two countries.
Aside from that, the country is also in a Mutual Defense Treaty with the US, thus the two countries have to side with each other when another country attacks either.
“Kung papatayin ang Filipinos, gusto mong sabihin, hindi na tayo iimik? Eh ang kalaban nila Amerikano. Kaya nila gagawin ‘yun, dahil kakampi tayo ng Amerikano,” Panelo added.
Earlier, Duterte told the military to ready its air and naval assets in case there will be a repatriation of OFWs in the Middle East following US President Donald Trump’s order to launch an airstrike that killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani in the airport of Baghdad, Iraq on January 3.
The President has also formed a special working force that will draw up evacuation plans for Filipinos working in the Middle East once the tension between US and Iran flares up.