• PH-Japan military exercises legal – AFP

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    THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ready to defend its defense agreement with Japan, whose legality was recently challenged at the Supreme Court (SC).

    The High Court ordered the government on Tuesday to answer the petition filed by a militant group questioning constitutionality of the military exercises held by the Philippines and Japan.

    “From the perspective of the Armed Forces and the Philippine Navy, we believe that the exercises were conducted with firm basis on our existing policies and laws which will be clarified thoroughly when we bring this matter up at the Supreme Court level,” said AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla.

    Padilla said the Department of National Defense (DND) will be the lead agency that will defend the issue.

    “Let’s wait for the sessions to start and observe from there because I cannot pre-empt whatever it is that will be presented. But be that as it may, we believe that we are on firm ground as far as the exercises with Japan are concerned,” he added.

    The AFP official said the exercises with Japan were held on international waters.

    He added that port visits by foreign troops are not prohibited.

    “All these activities [with Japan]are governed by policies and other laws that we need to be mindful of before we commit to certain activities that Japan and the Philippines would like to pursue in the future,” Padilla explained.

    The two countries, conducted last month the so-called conduct of code for unplanned encounters at sea or CUES, followed by the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response, Maritime Search and Rescue, and Maritime Situational Awareness.

    Prior to the drills, two Japanese destroyers—JS Harusame and JS Amigiri—carrying around 600 sailors docked in Manila and participated in what the Navy termed as passing exercise with Philippine Navy ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF16).

    The Alliance of Concern Teachers led by Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio asked the SC to declare as unconstitutional a memorandum on defense cooperation and a joint declaration providing for the joint military exercises between the two countries.

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    1 Comment

    1. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      30 July 2015

      The Philippines, through its Department of Defense, is simply being judicious in agreeing to joint PH-Japan military exercises, in the context of China’s depredations in the Western Philippine Sea where it has made illegal “reclamations” and “constructions” on maritime structures which the Philippines asserts are parts of its territory under International Law [UNCLOS].

      Japan likewise is now engaged in a territorial dispute with China over the Shenkaku and Daioyu islands in the East China Sea, which Japan claims belong to it.

      Thus Japan and the Philippines are cooperating with each other in the military sphere just in case the “cold” war now simmering between them and China should turn “hot” eventually. It is better to start preparing for that eventuality NOW rather than later when it may be too late.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      Lapulapu1927@yahoo.com