PH, US to hold more joint military activities

Published August 8, 2022, 12:26 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Philippines and the US will probably have more joint military activities in the coming years under the Marcos administration.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez on Monday, August 8, raised this possibility, which could include joint maritime patrols, as he said the US “wanted to have more exercises and more coordination with our militaries.”

In fact, this is part of what the US has been doing in the Indo-Pacific region, he added,

“So we may be seeing a lot more of that in the coming years. That is exactly what President Marcos was describing as an evolution of this Mutual Defense Treaty and alliance with the United States,” Romualdez said in an interview with ANC.

Joint patrols, which were suspended during Duterte’s administration in a bid not to offend China, are one of the options being now. But Romualdez said, the Philippines is still trying its best to work with other nations involved.

“As you know we’ve been working on the Code of Conduct [in the South China Sea] for many many years now,” he said.

“We don’t know whether that thing would progress. But we’re working it with our ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) neighbors, specifically in trying to come out with a right solution into making sure there is a freedom of navigation,” he added.

On Saturday, August 6, US State Secretary Antony Blinken met with Marcos, and assured the latter of Washington’s commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), which will provide foreign support to each other in the Pacific in case of external armed attack.

The MDT seeks to maintain the peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region, a vital sea lane for international trade and commerce, which had been threatened by the maritime tensions with China.

“We’re also working together as partners in so many different areas particularly economically, and of course, the alliance is strong and I believe, we will all stronger. We’re committed to the Mutual Defense Treaty. We’re committed to working with you on shared challenges,” Blinken told Marcos.