Phl, US renew MDT commitment

The Philippines and the United States on Friday renewed their commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty as they convened for the 10th Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.

During the 10th BSD, the Philippines and the United States said that they are determined to pursue cooperation in the following areas: cultivating a stronger partnership; cementing an enduring alliance; promoting an international law-based maritime order; and advancing our common prosperity, protecting our shared planet.

In a joint statement, the two nations reiterated the importance of the security alliance and shared commitments under the MDT to promote a peaceful, stable and enabling environment for our economies to thrive amidst geopolitical challenges in the region.

To invigorate defense and security cooperation and ensure the Alliance adapts effectively to face new and emerging challenges, both sides decided to hold their second policy-centric tabletop exercise by the end of the second quarter of 2023.

The TTX allows officials on both sides to plan ahead for and ensure more coordinated responses to potential flashpoints.

Likewise, the two nations agreed to share information within the framework of the 2004 Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippines’ Department of National Defense and the US Department of Defense Concerning Communications Interoperability and Security, while prioritizing the conclusion of a General Security of Military Information Agreement by the end of 2023.

The move aims to streamline technology transfer for required capabilities, and ultimately improve interoperability, according to the joint statement.

Meantime, the Philippines and the US agreed to fully implement the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement through the expedited completion of projects in existing agreed locations and finalizing procedures for the adoption of additional agreed locations.

At the moment, there are military sites identified under the EDCA: Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu, Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan and Basa Air Base in Pampanga.

The two countries also agreed to develop a Security Sector Assistance Roadmap for defense modernization and underscored the importance of regular and sustained dialogue at both the policy and operational levels to ensure cooperation on issues of mutual interest and concern.

The two nations renewed their commitment to bringing together their Defense and Foreign Ministers this year in the Two-Plus-Two Ministerial Dialogue format.

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