PH, US military say ties remain robust | Inquirer News

PH, US military say ties remain robust

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 12:39 AM November 23, 2016

The chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US Pacific Command said on Tuesday the two countries’ military ties remained robust, with both sides committed to their alliance and cooperation on maritime security, counterterrorism and humanitarian aid.

The upbeat statement issued at the end of a Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board meeting came after threats by President Duterte to reduce military cooperation with the United States and expand security ties with China and Russia.


Continued cooperation

In a joint statement read by Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson for the AFP, both sides said the successful completion of the meeting highlighted the “enduring commitment of both countries to the US-Philippine alliance.”


“We look forward to continued close cooperation in areas central to both our national and security interests, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, cybersecurity and maritime security,” the statement said.

The meeting, held at AFP general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City,  was jointly presided by the cochairs—Gen. Ricardo Visaya, AFP chief, and Adm. Harry Harris Jr., chief of the US Pacific Command.

They were joined and supported by various standing committees and participating agencies of both governments.



Details of the meeting were not disclosed.

The joint statement referred only to the activities that were held and agreed upon by both sides during the meeting.


Padilla said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) was part of the discussion, but stressed that nothing new had been discussed.

The Edca, an executive agreement whose validity was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this year, allows more US troops in the Philippines and gives the US military access to five Philippine military bases.

It adopts certain provisions of previous agreements on joint military exercises and cooperation,  such as the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement.


The Department of National Defense (DND) earlier said it wanted the number of joint drills reduced from the current 13 to about six or seven and for training to be refocused on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counterterrorism.

The DND also wanted to scrap two naval exercises that include territorial defense training.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana presented the proposal to Mr. Duterte earlier this month. Officials said the proposal was to be presented to the Americans during Tuesday’s board meeting for concurrence.—WITH A REPORT FROM AP

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TAGS: Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Mutual Defense Board, Philippine news updates
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