Hagel to meet with Aquino on US troops

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to meet with President Benigno Aquino III this week to discuss the current negotiations for the framework agreement on the increased rotational presence of American soldiers in the Philippines, the US Department of Defense said Friday.

Hagel will also be meeting with his counterpart, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

The framework agreement that would pave the way for more US troops coming to the Philippines and giving them access to military facilities is largely viewed as a deterrent to China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

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

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

Hagel is in Honolulu, Hawaii, his first stop on a weeklong, four-nation tour of the Southeast Asian region where he would be attending the Asean Defense Ministers Meeting Plus in Brunei.

Hagel will be in Manila on Aug. 29 and 30.

Two weeks ago, the Philippines and the United States began the negotiations for the framework agreement on the increased rotational presence of US soldiers in the Philippines, where the Americans can have access to the military facilities of the country.

The framework, however, would not include the operational details so as not to compromise national security, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had said.

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

The DFA has explained the need for an increased rotational 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 has stressed that its new defense policy was not for a basing agreement for the US military which the Constitution prohibits.

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  • rolando mendoza

    Malay ba ng mga sundalo na dugo nga ng tao yun at hindi dugo ng hayop ?

  • Anonymous

    Huwag naman sana, pero baka naman President Noynoy will return the occupied camp to the MILF “lost command”?

  • DGuardian

    We need the US military presence in the Philippines. The destiny of the Philippines is inextricably intertwined with that of the United States’. The downfall of the US will, also, be our downfall. That is today’s geopolitical reality. In the meantime, the government should modernize and fortify our Armed Forces, instead of allowing the lawmakers to steal so many billions of pesos of pork barrels and the LGU officials to, likewise, appropriate for themselves billions of pesos of IRAs each year.

  • joboni96

    national heroes’ day
    pero ibebenta na naman tayo

    ng mga bagong collaborators gasmin delrosario
    surely not heroes

    ang mga ginagawa ninyo ay
    labag sa constitution

    ibigay mo na muna ang panatag
    pero huwag na papasukin ulit mga militar ng imperyalista

    ipapahamak na naman tayo
    sa gerra naman nila sa intsik switik

    • Benigno Marcos Sr.

      Parang nangingibabaw sa tono mo ang Komunistang radikal Kabayan, Hindi lahat ng nakasulat sa Konstitusyon ay maaring pag-basehan ng bawat desisyon sa gobyerno, mayroon pang mga batas at plebisito na pwedeng maging dahilan, hindi giyera ang magiging bunga nito dahil sa ganitong aksyon lamang kundi seguridad ng bawat Pilipino na tulad nating dalawa :)

      • joboni96

        red commie scare tactic pa rin iri
        gusto pang labagin constitution namin

        para sa anemic aaaassss imperialist master
        collaborator ka

    • yew_tan

      Surrender to China is the only way to go. You have no recourse. You all going to die. Resistance is futile. For a poor nation like yours, with coward masses and wimpy armed forces, your chances to triumph all comes to naught.

      • joboni96

        the wishful intsik switik

        we will bring you back
        to warring states period

      • BIGButo

        Go to china or North Korea utak. we don’t need you communist here.

      • BIGButo

        Not without the Americans utak our military is useless that is why we cannot even take care of our own civil war with the your NPA and other leftist in the southern Philippines.
        Fix your leftist head utak!

  • BIGButo

    Change the Constitution, Impeach all the senators and congressman involved in corruption and pork put them in jail and make them do hard labor for the rest of there lives. outlaw the NPA and Bayan leftist. Bring back the US Bases now!

  • 33Sam

    MORE CHESS MOVES..GLOBALISTS SNEAK IN THE PAWNS…

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