A spokesman for the United States embassy said US forces deployed in Mindanao will not leave unless the Philippine government says so.
Embassy press attache Rebecca Thompson stressed that American troops are in the country because they are "invited" by Manila and that their presence is covered by a bilateral defense agreement signed by the Philippines and US governments...
The continued presence of US forces in Mindanao, a region constantly plagued by war, have come under fire lately from critics and militant groups, saying the Americans has already established a de-facto military base in the South.
They said that the US military has never left the country and continues to maintain small, discreet units in the Philippines even after their bases where shut down in 1992.
"I can only emphasize that US forces serve here at the request of your government. US troops are here at the invitation of the government of the Philippines and they're here to support and share information with the Armed Forces of the Philippines,"Thompson said.
Del Callar, Michaela and Baldo, Gerry. 10 September 2008. "US forces to leave only if told to do so, says envoy." The Daily Tribune. 10 September 2008. http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20080910hed5.html