MANILA, Philippines — A framework agreement with the United States on increasing the presence of the US Troops in the country was justified by Malacañang on Sunday.
Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario stressed that the alliance with the US troops will aid the country to guard its territory over the rising tension on disputed waters with China.
However, the government has been looking forward on its main reason for this agreement, which is to boost the capability of our Filipino soldiers, according to Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
Gazmin and Del Rosario on Thursday stressed on a letter for the congress that the “increased rotational presence” of the American troops would modernize and bolster the country’s external defense and security. This partly serves as a counterpart against China’s rising aggression over Philippine-claimed waters in South China Sea.
Gazmin said that this agreement would allow the access of US and other allies to our existing military bases. But he later emphasized that any settlements must have to comply with the Constitution and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). This agreement allows American troops through the country and stay only for short stays and governs their conduct.
“My understanding is that everything will be under the framework of the VFA. So the subject of negotiations would be the modalities on how to implement an increased rotational presence. Let’s wait for several announcements on this,” Valte also said.
Kathleen Ave L. Crucillo
Leyte Normal University