New US-PH defense agreement polarizes Fil-Ams

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 29, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Even before President Barack Obama’s trip to the Philippines, the U.S. and the Philippines have already signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which would allow increased U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

Filipinos are split on the presence of U.S. military forces in the Philippines.

While Obama was in Asia, some Filipino activists took to the streets all over America in protest.

They say the U.S. should interfere with Philippine affairs.

“We are opposed to the militarization because it not only tramples on the sovereignty but only the human level. It would also mean increased violence against women, pollution and toxic dumping around the lands and waters that the military is located in. And it would also devastate the local economy, says BAYAN-USA Vice-Chair Rhonda Ramiro

Atty. Rodel Rodis says the new defense agreement and added military presence in the disputed areas will in fact contain China’s aggression.

“People in the Philippines are commenting why can’t the U.S. be as unequivocal about defending the Philippines as it did about Japan. And the difference has to do with the nature of agreements that the Philippines has with Japan. The Philippine agreement with the United States is the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty,” said Rodis.

That same agreement said that the U.S. was obligated to defend any public vessels that are under attack. That is the significance of the Sierra Madre because the Sierra Madre is an active Philippine Navy ship. So therefore if China attacks the Sierra Madre ship that is guarding the Ayungin Shoal that will trigger a U.S. response under the Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Rodis slams the Filipino activists who protest the Philippines’ stronger ties with the U.S.

He says the Philippines have to be more sophisticated in dealing with China and Filipinos need the U.S. as a deterrent.

“People in the Philippines demonstrated against the Chinese embassy for the attacks on the Ayungin Shoal but your group in the U.S. hasn’t received the memo yet. Have you come out against China? They’re still trapped in the past and their mindset are still based on what happened it the past. They’re right about what happened in the past but let’s deal with the present. Let’s deal with the future,” said Rodis.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Noel Garcia
    30 April 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    The Sierra Madre PN Ship is not an active ship base on maritime laws. The US will not be drag to war with china if the shooting war will start in the disputed territories and they are not in the MDT. Only if the mainland Philippines will be attacked and the MDT will trigger the US respond but on our Disputed Territories they won’t come to help us.

  • Victor
    30 April 2014 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I disagree with the premise that US will not come to our aid cause some of the island in contention are within the 200 mile boundary that nations had signed in agreement..Some countries have a long stretches of small islands, then with your view they do not owned them.Since China in early days of its empire did not proclaim its ownership of contested area unlike our claim to Sarah which is documented and verified by historians.Still we should not rely solely with notion that the US will come to our aid.That is why Japan is beefing up its armed forces by buying sophisticated weapons just in case.A wise man once said, a wise leader must avoid war but must ready for it!!