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Galvez defends Marcos admin’s alleged pro-US stance

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Galvez defends Marcos adminâs alleged pro-US stance
Senior Defense Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
STAR / Mong Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Senior Defense Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. defended the Marcos administration yesterday against those criticizing the government for allegedly being too pro-US.

“Hindi naman (not really),” he told reporters, stressing that the Philippines and the United States have a Mutual Defense Treaty that shows the long-standing friendship and commitment between the two nations.

Galvez explained that just like other countries, the Philippines honors its agreements with its allies such as the US.

“At the same time, we can see the US government is really supporting us in terms of our modernizing,” he said, referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.

Galvez added that like other states, the Philippines wants to have a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

The statement of the Department of National Defense officer-in-charge came in light of those criticizing the national government’s decision to allow American troops access to four more sites in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Last week, retired officials of the AFP expressed their full support for the proposal to allow US forces access to more military locations in the Philippines.

The Association of General and Flag Officers said allowing American troops access will further boost defense capabilities in areas including the West Philippine Sea.

“This 2014 agreement allows the rotation, not permanent stay, of US troops in mutually agreed locations where our ally could use temporary facilities,” their statement read.

Current EDCA sites in the country are Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro.

US bucks sea intimidation

The United States underscored that no member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms of the sea that is guaranteed to all.

“The international community has an enduring role in preserving the freedom of the seas, which is critical to global security, stability and prosperity,” the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement after Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands.

The US Defense Department said this freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and also by challenging Beijing’s claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight, free trade and unimpeded commerce and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations,” it said.

The US challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant.

“The United States upholds freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle. As long as some countries continue to claim and assert limits on rights that exceed their authority under international law, the United States will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the sea guaranteed to all,” it added. – Pia Lee-Brago

AFP

US

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