US troops can be deployed to disputed islands – Biazon

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American soldiers may be deployed to disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) alongside their Filipino counterparts under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), according to Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, a former chief of the Armed Forces.

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The lawmaker, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, on Tuesday noted that the deployment of US troops is similar to the provision under the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows American soldiers to engage in anti-terrorism and disaster-preparedness training with their Philippine counterparts. American soldiers, however, are banned from participating in combat operations.

“Maybe [we can have it on a]rotational basis on the issue of personnel deployment . . . because we have no [military facilities]there except some barracks and some civilians on Pag-asa Island [in the West Philippine Sea]. It is [rotational presence of American troops in the country that is]happening now under the VFA,” Biazon told reporters.

The EDCA, which was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court last week, allows US forces to conduct activities inside Philippine military bases. These activities include training, transit, support and other related activities; refueling of aircraft, bunkering of vessels, temporary maintenance of vehicles, vessels and aircraft; temporary accommodation of personnel; and communications, prepositioning of equipment, supplies and material and deploying forces and materials.

“We need EDCA. Remember, we are not only addressing the creeping aggression of China.
We are addressing the problem of international terrorism, global terrorism, we are addressing [these issues]for us to put our resources together, to address consequences of natural or man-made disasters,” Biazon pointed out.

He, however, clarified that storing weapons on the disputed islands is a big no-no, considering that the country has conflicting claims with China over resources-rich West Philippine Sea islands.

“It will not be wise for us and for them [Americans] to consider stocking up things on those small islands,” the Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) lawmaker said.

The Philippines filed a case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague amid a bitter dispute over islands in the West Philippine Sea.

China, under its ancient nine-dash-line, claims the entire sea, including islands very close to the Philippines.

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4 Comments

  1. Now the US is with us, the money for military modernization will go to the pocket of our politicians. Hehehe….

  2. pakialamero ako on

    Si mang Raffy naman, Americans are banned from participating combat operations, and they can only be deployed and will only engage in a joint disaster preparedness and anti-terrorism TRAINING. Do you think that the Americans are dumb and stupid enough to be deployed on the disputed west Philippine Sea? on rotational basis? Sabihin sa iyo, sinusuwerte ka ba? However, if real war breaks out, it will be a different story.

  3. We should strengten our military and not rely on other countries,stop corruptions in the DND and AFP so can buy more weapons and better eguipment and supplies for our troops,not eat sardines on the field.Makonsensya naman kayo o talagang mga walanghiya na kayo.

    • Felix Servidad on

      To strengthen our military we need a sophisticated weapons to equal China’s military capabilities and that would take 5 to 10 years from now
      If we have the money for it.
      To stop corruptions that will take time because our politicians will not allow it , only devine intervention could make it.
      Let me put it this way, corruption in our country is like a terminal cancer there’s no cure, let’s pray for the miracle for what impossible to us is always possible to God.