The chiefs-of-staff of both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces (USAF) has signed a joint vision statement affirming their commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) last August 22.
Signatories were AFP chief-of-staff Emmanuel Bautista and General Martin Dempsey for the US. The signing took place in Washington D.C.
The statement follows the Manila Declaration of 2011, signed by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario and then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, manifesting both countries’ desire to affirm and maintain the robust defense and security relations.
It is also the highlight of General Bautista’s week-long visit to the US from August 18-25.
Under the joint statement, the two military institutions will continue its mutual defense cooperation to “address broad regional and global challenges, including maritime security.”
It will also seek to jointly resolve modern security concerns like climate change, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and transnational crimes.
Moreover, the two armed forces seek to promote regional stability through bilaterally and multilaterally through institutions such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “to strengthen the Southeast Asia security environment in a manner that protects the interests of all who value unimpeded commerce transiting through the maritime domain.”
“We are committed to the principles upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we subscribe to a rules-based approach in resolving competing claims in maritime areas by peaceful means, within the framework of international law including those reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention,” the statement added.
The AFP and USAF, in the vision statement, also expect “increased rotational and temporary presence” of US military forces in AFP-controlled facilities that will pave the way for a “robust, balanced, and responsive security partnership manifested in mutually beneficial bilateral military training, exercises and operations.”
The AFP believes that the joint vision statement manifests the desire of the Filipino people, who share deep historical and cultural ties with Americans, to resolve peacefully regional security concerns as we reinforce our strong national interests in the Asia-Pacific region. PNA