MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana hinted at the possibility of scrapping the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States if the review of the pact shows that it is not relevant to the country’s national interest anymore.
“That was done in 1951, there was this raging Cold War. Do we still have a Cold War today? Is it (still) relevant to our security. Baka hindi na?” Lorenzana said in a Palace briefing on Friday.
“Ang sinasabi kong review is not to strengthen or be again totally dependent on US. Reviewing baka naman (kasi) hindi na natin kailangan, diba?” he added.
When asked if scrapping the 67-year-old pact was an option, Lorenzana said: “Tignan natin… Kaya nga sabi ko is this piece of paper, the MDT, is still relevant to our national interest. Does it support our national interest at this time? Modern na tayo, hindi na 1951.”
Lorenzana later stressed that the end goal of the review is to either “maintain it, strengthen it or scrap it.”
However, the Defense chief noted that there is no formal efforts yet to review the MDT.
The MDT states that both countries would assist each other when either of them is attacked by a foreign force. This includes armed attack “on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the Island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.”
Earlier, Lorenzana said it is time to review the treaty amid concerns about hostile encounters between the US and China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), an area where Beijing and Manila have conflicting territorial claims but not covered by the 1951 accord.
In calling for the review, Lorenzana said the Defense department wanted the US to give a definitive stand on whether it will support the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the event of a confrontation with other claimants. /muf
READ: Lorenzana: Time to review PH-US defense treaty