Latest Stories

US defense chief here next week


U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at a Pentagon news conference in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

MANILA, Philippines – US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with President Benigno Aquino III next week to discuss the ongoing negotiations for increased presence of American soldiers in the Philippines, the US Department of Defense said in a statement released Friday (Saturday in Manila).

Hagel will also be meeting with his counterpart, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario during his two day visit on August 29-30.

The agreement that would pave the way for more US troops to be stationed in the Philippines and give them access to the military facilities is being presented to Filipinos by the Philippine government as a deterrent to China’s increasing presence in the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China sea that the Philippines claims to be within its exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines and China continue to be locked in a territorial dispute, particularly over Panatag Shoal off Zambales province and the Ayungin Shoal in the Kalayaan Island Group or Spratlys.

According to the US statement, Hagel will talk to President Aquino, Gazmin, and Del Rosario “about ongoing negotiations for a framework agreement that would allow US forces to operate on Philippine military bases and in Philippine territory and waters to help build Philippine armed forces capacity in maritime security and maritime domain awareness.”

The US had maintained a military presence in the Philippines from the colonial era right up to the time the Philippine Senate voted against extending the military bases agreement in 1991.

Hagel is currently in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first stop prior to his weeklong, four nation tour of  Southeast Asia for a meeting of defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Brunei.

Hagel will be in Manila on August 29 and 30.

The Philippines and United States began negotiations on the increased presence of US soldiers in the Philippines two weeks ago. US troops are currently maintaining a presence in the Philippines under the two countries’ visiting forces agreement.

The new agreement being hammered out would not include operational details so as not to compromise national security, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

Philippine negotiators have explained having a framework agreement was necessary as military activities are not specified in the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

The DFA has explained the need for an increased presence of US troops to have “a minimum credible defense posture… to enhance maritime domain awareness and develop a deterrence capability.”

“This can be accomplished through high-impact and high-value joint exercises which promote interoperability and capacity building that will also bolster humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” it said.

The Philippine government maintains that its new defense policy is not for a basing agreement for the US military which the Constitution prohibits.

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: Defense , Diplomacy , Foreign Affairs and International relations , Military , Politics , Security , South China Sea , territorial dispute , US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel , US-Philippine relations , West Philippine Sea

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


  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Technology

  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Marketplace