Philippines, US military chiefs to meet Thursday
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2012 - 6:36pm

MANILA, Philippines - The military chiefs of the Philippines and the United States (US) will Thursday to discuss mutual security concerns and to reaffirm the two countries’ security ties.

The meeting between Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa and US Pacific Command chief Admiral Samuel Locklear is in line with the Mutual Defense Treaty signed by the two countries in 1951.

“Gen. Dellosa and Adm. Locklear will reaffirm their commitment to the strategic partnership between the two countries’ armed forces,” AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said in a press conference Wednesday.

“This will also serve as a mechanism for consultations on mutual security concerns and this will also serve as a venue for mutually-agreed upon activities and arrangements involving both countries,” he added.

Under the MDT, the two countries, separately or jointly, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attacks.

Burgos could not tell if the territorial row in the West Philippine Sea would be tackled by the military leaders.

Col. Nilo Perfecto, an official from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, said Dellosa and Locklear would sign five terms of reference that would further define their partnership.

These are the transfer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from the Mutual Defense Board (MDB) to the Security and Engagement Board (SEB), the designation of SEB as a body that would deal with non-traditional threats like piracy, cyber security and disasters; the creation of a technology and experimentation subcommittee on civil-military operations; the creation of the humanitarian and disaster response working group and the activation of a counter-terrorism working group.

Burgos said the meeting of Dellosa and Locklear would cap the engagements of the MDT and the SEB for this year.

Earlier, Dellosa said the US and the Philippines would sign this month an agreement that would enable them to conduct bilateral exercises in 2013.

Among the joint military drills staged by the US and the Philippines are the Balikatan, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training or CARAT and the annual Amphibious Landing Exercise or PHIBLEX.

Last January, the US announced plans to deploy majority of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the move is in line with the US’s efforts to boost its presence in the Asia Pacific.

He said the US naval assets would be realigned from a roughly 50-50 split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about 60-40 split between those oceans.

Several US warships have conducted successive “routine port calls” in the Philippines since the US Defense department made the announcement.

On Sunday, US submarine USS Emory S Land will arrive in Subic Bay to replenish supplies. The submarine is part of the US Pacific Fleet.

ADMIRAL SAMUEL LOCKLEAR AMPHIBIOUS LANDING EXERCISE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARNULFO BURGOS JR. ASIA PACIFIC BURGOS COOPERATION AFLOAT READINESS AND TRAINING DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA DELLOSA AND ADM DELLOSA AND LOCKLEAR EMORY S LAND
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