By Roy Mabasa
The United States government on Thursday reiterated its “absolute” and “ironclad” commitment to its alliance with the Philippines under the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
“We have a strong and robust security alliance with the Philippines, and the United States stands by its Mutual Defense Treaty obligations,” US Embassy Press Attache told the Manila Bulletin when asked to comment on the mounting calls for a review of the 68-year-old defense pact.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana broached the idea of a possible review to determine if the Philippines should maintain, strengthen or scrap the treaty that was done during the Cold War period in 1951.
Lorenzana, however, clarified that the Philippines has been benefitting from the MDT, the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
On Wednesday, Sen. Gregorio Honasan II said a “performance audit” on the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) is “long overdue.”
Honasan, who chairs the Senate national defense committee, explained that the performance audit should be focused not only on the treaty but also on all security, economic, bilateral and multilateral arrangements “in the light of the changing security, political, economic, social, domestic and global landscape.”
“Congressional review (and) intervention is important without prejudice to more expedient legally authorized executive action,’’ Honasan told reporters.
For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said it is a “bit pointless” to touch the MDT without the US bases, but admitted it can be improved by amending certain provisions of the treaty.
“Bit pointless to touch MDT w/o US bases thanks to 1987 ConCom which I insulted for banning US nukes and bases. But MDT can be improved by making any aggressive move vs US or PH a trigger for all-out war without (the) need of approval of either Congress. A good war sacrifices any cause,” Locsin said in one of his latest tweets.
Article IV of the MDT states: “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.”
Under Article V, it further provides 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; on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean; and on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.”