IN THE KNOW: The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty
The Philippines and the United States signed on Aug. 30, 1951, the Mutual Defense Treaty, agreeing to come to each other’s defense against an armed attack.
Article II of the treaty stipulates that “the parties separately and jointly by self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.”
The treaty further specifies that “an armed attack on either of the parties is deemed to include an 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.”
Following the signing, the Mutual Defense Board was established on May 15, 1958, “to provide a continuing intergovernmental machinery for direct liaison and consultation between appropriate Philippine and United States authorities on military matters of mutual concern.”
The board, headquartered in Manila, was placed under the RP-US Council of Foreign Ministers to ensure the implementation of the treaty. It is cochaired by the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US military representative of the council, or officials designated by them, and composed of military officials of the two countries.
The board conducts meetings thrice a year. In previous meetings, it planned military training sessions, construction activities, personnel exchanges, ship visits, security assistance activities and humanitarian missions. It also discussed security issues like the terrorist attacks in Mindanao, hostage-taking incidents involving US nationals, and the communist insurgency in the Philippines. Inquirer Research
Sources: Mutual Defense Treaty; Inquirer Archives