DND: Joint military trainings between PH-U.S. to continue

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

Metro Manila (CNN) — President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed joint military trainings between the Philippines and the United States to continue.

In a statement of Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, he said Duterte approved "practically all our recommendations."

The recommendations include the refocusing of bilateral activities on command post exercises, tabletop exercises, staff exercises and simulation exercises and trainings; maintaining bilateral humanitarian and disaster response and counter-terrorism exercises; and focusing on non-traditional security concerns such as counter-narcotics and transnational crimes.

Lorenzana issued the statement after a meeting on Monday where the Armed Forces of the Philippines presented the security engagements between the country and the U.S.

He said recommendations approved by the President will be presented to the U.S. panel of the Mutual Defense Board - Security Engagement Board in its upcoming meeting this month.

EDCA to continue

Lorenzana also confirmed that Duterte has given the go-signal for the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The EDCA is a military agreement between the Philippines and the U.S. that seeks to develop the country's capability for external defense, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian and disaster response.

Related: What you need to know about EDCA

Signed in 2014, EDCA carries out provisions of previous agreements such as the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement.

Its constitutionality was questioned in 2014 after petitioners said it went against several provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

In January, the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality with a vote of 10-4, saying EDCA is an executive agreement that does not need Senate concurrence.

Read: Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of EDCA

The Court's decision was welcomed by the U.S. with Secretary of State John Kerry saying, "We look forward to implementing this accord, which will increase the interoperability of our armed forces and contribute to the modernization and improve our joint capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies."

Read: U.S., Philippines announce five military bases for EDCA

Under the EDCA, there will be more U.S.-Philippines joint military exercises, such as the Balikatan, aimed at increasing the Philippines' capacity to defend itself during territorial disputes.

Previous objections

Duterte previously stated he might consider junking EDCA, saying former President Benigno Aquino III did not sign it.

Duterte also earlier declared the joint war games of the Philippines and the U.S. in October will be the last, not only this year, but throughout his six-year term.

Read: Duterte threatens to junk EDCA

Lorenzana said Duterte ordered assault exercises and some bilateral drills to stop, but clarified that other joint trainings and exercises with other countries would likewise continue as scheduled.