Sunday, May 26, 2024

Marcos: PH Cannot Be Complacent Despite ‘Intensified’ US Ties

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Marcos: PH Cannot Be Complacent Despite ‘Intensified’ US Ties

342

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The country cannot afford to be complacent despite its “increased and intensified” defense and security relations with the United States (US), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Saturday (Manila time).

While Marcos acknowledged the remarkable progress in the Philippines’ and the US’ defense and security cooperation, he said the country could not just sit back considering the potentially grave repercussions of present security issues the two nations have dealt with.

“Well, we have come a long way. I think that we have responded in a proper and measured way to the challenges that have been put before us. But we cannot sit back and say that the mission accomplished quite yet,” he said during the formal dinner hosted by the US-Philippine Society in Washington DC.

“The nature, the intensity, and the potential disastrous consequences of the security threats facing us today necessitate that we work harder and continuously improve.”

Marcos welcomed US President Joe Biden’s commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), citing that the annual Balikatan exercise between Philippine and American troops is part of the pact.

Inked on Aug. 30, 1951, the MDT is an accord that stipulates that the Philippines and the US would support each other if either of them were to be attacked by an external party.

The President said the military exercises between the two nations are “going to be the largest (and) most extensive” as these would cover more areas, especially in terms of interoperability.

He also expressed elation over the two countries’ establishment of bilateral defense guidelines and expansion of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

“From the original five (EDCA) sites to now nine sites, it would be quite easy to say that we are in a good place as far as our alliance is concerned. And for me, this means our alliance matters,” Marcos said.

“It matters because our increased and intensified defense and security engagement with the United States means that we are significantly contributing to our country’s ability to defend our security and address the threats.”

He also said he had received assurance that the development of the two nations’ Security Sector Assistance Roadmap and signing of the General Security of Military Information Agreement are “very close to conclusion.”

While the US is “not a direct party” to the long-standing territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS), it continued to play its part in assisting and working with the Philippines to address maritime-related issues, Marcos added.

He also expressed appreciation for the US for its firm stance to help the Philippines, in case of an armed attack by a third party, as well as its commitment to uphold freedom of navigation and the rules-based order. (PNA) 

Photo credit: Facebook/BongbongMarcos

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