MANILA --- The US government reiterated its offer to supply the Philippines with the Lockheed Martin F-16. The offer took place during Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's visit to Washington D.C. last September where he met with US Secretary James Mattis.
"Yes, he offered to sell the (F-16)," Lorenzana said in a message to reporters Tuesday.
The DND chief, however, said these fighters are too expensive for the Philippines along with the attack helicopters which are also being offered by the US.
"He also offered their new attack helicopters but they are also expensive," he added.
Also discussed in the said meeting were bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as the ongoing modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Arsenio Andolong, DND spokesperson, said the F-16 was offered to President Rodrigo Duterte in a letter sent by three US cabinet officials last August.
However, President Duterte has already declined the proposed deal, saying the military does not need this kind of fighter jets because the Philippines is not at war with any country.
"We do not need any F-16s. It would be utterly useless to buy it, but I need attack helicopters and small planes for the counter-insurgency," he said.
"Three US Cabinet Secs (Mike Pompeo-State, Wilbur Ross-Commerce, & Jim Mattis-Defense) wrote a letter to President Duterte offering F-16s & other defense articles. This offer was reiterated to Secretary Lorenzana during his visit to Washington," he added.