PH critics say defense pacts skewed in favor of the U.S.

By Gigi Grande, ABS-CBN News

Apr. 30, 2014

MANILA – Old friends and allies. That’s what the Philippine and U.S. governments have called themselves for decades.

But critics said a look at previous Defense pacts show lopsided relations in favor of the U.S.

The Military Bases Agreement of 1947 gave Americans unhampered control of Subic and Clark.

A Military Assistance Agreement renewed in 1953 binds the Philippines to purchase arms, equipment and vessels from the US unless both parties decide otherwise.

The Visiting Forces Agreement allows American authorities to take custody of US personnel charged with crimes.

And while the Mutual Defense Treaty binds both countries to defend each other in the event of an attack on a metropolitan area, the Philippines must also defend the US in case of an attack in the Pacific.
The U.S. however is not bound to defend the Philippines in case of an attack on disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

That provision is nowhere in the treaty.

Roland Simbulan of the Center for People Empowerment in Government said, “We like to believe na mutual and equal, our leaders like to believe that. Pero sa realidad sila yung may upper hand palagi,” said Roland Simbulan of the Center for People Empowerment in Government.

The supposed lopsided agreements have made critics wary of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA.

The government argued that it’s a necessary implementation of Article 2 of the MDT which says the Philippines must develop its capacity to resist armed attack.

Simbulan is unconvinced. He said the U.S. did little to help the Philippines develop its external defense capability in the last four decades.

“Kung gusto nila tayong tulungan at imodernize sa external defense capability they should really assist us in getting state of the art equipment, hindi tung mga lumang coast guard cutters na binenta pa nila sa atin when these are candidates for the junk yard,” explained Simbulan.

The EDCA will give U.S. ships, aircraft and soldiers access to Philippine bases and allow construction of U.S. facilities to store supplies.

In return, the pact formalizes humanitarian assistance for disaster relief.

But Harry Roque of the Center for International Law said there’s no need to sign a pact for humanitarian assistance. That, he said, is already covered by humanity and public conscience.

He said the dangers of the agreement outweigh any benefits.

“Isang implication kapag pinagamit natin yung military bases is kapag nagkaroon ng digmaan sa pagitan ng US and kahit sino man, maski hindi tayo kasama sa gerang yan, ay pwedeng ma-target an gating territyoryo dahil hinayaan natin sila na gamitin an gating mga base military,” stated Rogue.

The EDCA could be one of the biggest accomplishments of Obama in his Asia visit. But it may be too soon to celebrate.

Already, critics like Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Roque have vowed to scrutinize the Executive Agreement, which they believe requires a two thirds concurrence from the Senate.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Kuya
    30 April 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Pag ww3 na pag wla kang kakampi ay sasakupin kparin. Lalamunin ka ng malalaking bansa. 2 Lang choice mo. China or US Lang. Mamili kayo habang maaga pa at Kung pwede ay bumili din ng missile at jet fighters pra may panlaban.

  • Juan
    1 May 2014 at 12:32 am - Reply

    Ano ang game plan ni Obama, the Globalist boy(One world Govt), he created the Middle East Arab Spring installed the Muslim brotherhood in Eqypt,supported Al Queda in Libya Tunisia,Syria, stage Coup in Ukraine and installed a Neo-Nazi leadership. Will allow China to continue to grab more island, so that we will be force to buy more military hardwares from US. Jackpot na naman si “T” of the Carlyle group.