Senators hail US commitment to defense treaty with PH

Published January 30, 2021, 6:05 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senators on Saturday welcomed a United States commitment to the 1951 RP-US Military Defense Treaty (MDT) as China shows its belligerence to foreign powers that do not honor its historical claim over most parts of the vast South China Sea (SCS).

Regardless of who is in power, either the Democrats or Republicans, they have their own agenda “but the fact remains the MDT is binding,” Senator Ronald dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said during a DWIZ radio interview Saturday on the status of Philippines-US relations under the Biden administration.

Senator Richard J. Gordon said he welcomes the recent statement of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about America’s commitment under the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty.

“May kasabihan tayo (we have a saying), ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’,” Gordon said.

“We are the friend in need, especially when even our poor fishermen are subjected to intimidation, threats and bullying by unfriendly forces claiming ownership of what is legally our sea, our shores, our resources,” he added.

Dela Rosa said he thanked the US for its concern over the West Philippine Sea.

“That is a good sign. Words should be followed by deeds,” he added.

China refuses to honor a ruling of the United Nations arbitration court that rejects China’s “historical” claims over most parts of the South China Sea. The ruling favored the Philippines which based its arguments on the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio has outlined steps President Duterte can take to challenge China’s new measure, a move he says threatens not just the region but the world.

China has passed a law allowing its Coast Guard to use armed force against anyone found in Beijing-claimed waters.