Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Closer ties with US allies seen to benefit Philippine military

President Rodrigo Duterte discusses matters with Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, who paid a courtesy call to the President, at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City on March 17, 2017. Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines under the Duterte administration should foster closer security ties with the United States and its security partners including Japan, South Korea and Australia, an analyst said.

This would strengthen the territorial defense capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the face of the South China Sea dispute with China.

Renato De Castro, a professor at the De La Salle Universitiy and trustee of the Stratbase ADR Institute, recently released a study titled "The Role of America's Alliances in the Philippines' Balancing Policy on China: From the Aquino to the Duterte Administration."

In his study, De Castro said that despite the administration's efforts to rekindle ties with China, it is also crucial and urgent to engage the US and its other bilateral allies diplomatically and strategically.

"Dynamic partnerships enable the Philippines to strategize its territorial/maritime defense," De Castro said.

The country's strategic relations have helped the military overcome inadequacies such as in conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations during and after natural calamities.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

"As the Duterte administration pursues its economic alliance with China, it should also take note of how these bilateral security partners have helped the Philippines in its times of need," the professor said.

The Philippines has tapped Japan in providing technical and material assistance to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). Tokyo will provide 12 patrol boats for the PCG as part of the security arrangements between the two countries.

"A well-developed PCG is extremely important in deterring Chinese intrusion into the country's [exclusive economic zone]," De Castro said.

The Philippines also has plans to purchase 12 F/A Golden Eagle fighter planes from Korea, an alternative to the more expensive F-16 from the US.

A ratified Philippines-Australia Status of Forces Agreement enhances security cooperation which includes the Coast Watch South project and the joint Maritime Training Activity Lumbas, De Castro said.

"By establishing informal security ties with the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia, the Philippines harnesses the military know-how and resources of these allies against a pressing strategic concern in maritime Southeast Asia - China's expansionist moves in the South China Sea," De Castro said.

These engagements with US and its allies also addresses the Armed Forces of the Philippines' inadequacy in conducting humanitarian operations.

"Finally, maintaining the Philippines links with these countries also provides it a diplomatic leverage in dealing with China despite the two countries' recent rapprochement," the professor.

President Rodrigo Duterte said that his administration would shift to an "independent foreign policy" which appears to align with China, causing a stir in the Philippines' relationship with the US.

Despite his initial rhetoric against the US, Duterte has not abrogated the 70-year Philippines-US alliance.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1