US to help PH gain credible defense

The US will provide troops, equipment and training as part of the implementation of Manila and Washington’s 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement.

US to help PH gain credible defense

A defense official on Wednesday said the United States planned to increase the country’s “minimum credible defense posture” amid the continuing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea and likewise provide assistance to the military in disaster preparedness and maritime security and awareness, among other things.

Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo said the US would enhance the country’s security by providing a “combination” of naval troops and defense equipment while engaging the country’s armed forces in military training and exercises.

Batino added that the US move was part of the implementation of Manila and Washington’s 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Although there were no specifics on when and where they plan to increase military presence in the country, Batino said the officials who were present during the meeting had agreed to form a technical working group which would go into the details.

“Nothing definitive because this is just a policy consultation meeting. All of these specifics will have to be threshed out to the lower consultation,” Batino told reporters at the sidelines of the press briefing on the PH-US bilateral consultation at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

Batino added that the meeting did not discuss the exact number of troops that Washington would send to the country, saying that “it will be primarily an increase on the defense cooperation activities such as training and exercises all geared for maritime security and disaster relief”.

Based on its joint statement, the bilateral meeting also formulated policies in line with Manila and Washington’s constitution, on how to strengthen the country’s maritime security and maritime awareness, specifically on the development of a National Coast Watch Center.

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Source: Manila Standard Today.

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