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A Philippines senator is blasting his country’s Department of Foreign Affairs for quickly dismissing allegations that U.S. military personnel in Bicol were hiring local prostitutes.

In a Friday news release, Senator Francis Pangilinan demanded an explanation from Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Undersecretary Edilberto Adan.

"How did the commission come to the conclusion that the incident did not take place? Was an investigation undertaken?" Pangilinan asked. "If there was an investigation, who was called? What is the basis of their findings that these U.S. servicemen are innocent?"

Pangilinan, in an April 1 Philippine Daily Inquirer online story, told reporters that he learned from local residents that two groups of eight to 10 women were delivered nightly to the U.S. military members.

The story said Pangilinan planned to draft a Senate resolution "to inquire into the ‘prostitution aspect’ " of Balikatan — the annual U.S.-Philippines military exercise.

On Thursday, the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs released a statement claiming "there is no truth to reports that United States military personnel currently in Bicol … are availing of services of women of ill-repute."

In the release, Adan said that U.S. troops are accompanied by the Armed Forces of the Philippines at all times and that the Americans are "under strict orders and supervision to limit their movement from the project site to their accommodations."

U.S. Marine spokesman Capt. Clint Gebke said during a phone interview Monday that all military personnel in the country for the exercise have been given "cultural awareness classes" and understand they are "over here at the Philippines invitation."

"All servicemembers are held to the high standards that the military expects," he said.

But Gebke wouldn’t discuss details on the Bicol allegations, instead referring queries to the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. Embassy officials did not respond to e-mail and phone queries Monday.

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney was quoted Saturday in a story on the The Manila Times Web site as saying the U.S. military troops understand "the importance of behaving as ambassadors of America."

Adan said the allegations were simply a case of "mistaken identity" because a local festival brought many tourists, including Caucasians, to the same area where the U.S. troops are housed.

Pangilinan disagreed in his release, saying he spoke to witnesses who "can attest to the fact that women were being brought to the U.S. servicemen in their hotels."

"I challenge Undersecretary Adan to prove that this is a case of mistaken identity," Pangilinan said in the release. "If he cannot do so then he should issue a retraction and apologize."

The bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training exercise will take place from April 16 to April 30. About 100 U.S. troops are in Bicol to build roads, schools and water systems, according to the DFA release.

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