Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Letting US in is good for PH troops’

By

Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte: Increased American troop presence good for PH soldiers. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Sunday justified the forging of a framework agreement with the United States on increasing American troop presence in the Philippines amid a territorial row with China.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government had been forthcoming on its main reason for negotiating such an agreement with the US—to boost the capabilities of Filipino soldiers.

“The increase, if ever, in the rotational presence would benefit our soldiers because they will have more knowledge and information-sharing when it comes to upgrading our capabilities,” Valte said in an interview over government-run dzRB.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Monday will brief the media on the start of negotiations at the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Both Del Rosario and Gazmin had written leaders of Congress to make a case for an increased rotational presence of American troops, arguing that this would help the country attain a “minimum credible defense” of its territory, according to an Associated Press report.

A larger American presence would translate to more resources and training on disaster response, they also said.

The Philippines and China have been locked in a dispute over some islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

As its military and economic might grew, China has been asserting its claims more aggressively in the sea. The Philippines has brought a case against China before the United Nations.

Three island groups are at the center of the dispute, including the Spratlys, a chain of up to 190 islands, reefs, coral outcrops and banks believed to be sitting atop large deposits of oil and natural gas.

The agreement would be in sync with the US pivot to the Asia-Pacific by allowing the US and other allies access to existing military bases, Gazmin had said earlier.

But Gazmin had been quick to say that any such agreement would have to comply with the Constitution, which prohibits foreign bases, and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Chinese officials criticized the move. In the face of Beijing’s growing might, Washington last year saw the necessity to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region and deploy 60 percent of the US Navy fleet to the Pacific by 2020.

The Obama administration has helped the Philippines upgrade its military equipment for its own defense while Manila has agreed to allow American troops and ships to rotate through the country under the VFA.

Valte maintained that any new agreement on an increased rotational presence would be forged under the VFA.

“My understanding is that everything will be under the framework of the VFA. So the subject of negotiations would be the modalities on how to implement an increased rotational presence. Let’s wait for several announcements on this,” she said.

The VFA allows American troops into the country on short stays and governs their conduct.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Diplomacy , Military , Philippines , sea dispute , Spratlys , territorial row , US



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • Marketplace