PH: We’ll Take A Stand, With Or Without US

MANILA, Philippines --- With or without the Americans, the Philippines will take a stand on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) row.

This fact was made clear by the Philippine government when its military officials met with their United States counterparts during their last Mutual Defense Board (MDB) meeting held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Related slideshow: PH-US amphibious exercise

This developed as United Kingdom Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said the Philippines should help calm down some of the rhetoric with regards to the West Philippine Sea dispute.

"As soon as we sat down, we asked them (US military officials) if we can just talk freely and that's what happened," Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Alexander Pama told Manila Bulletin in an interview as he explained that prior to the MDB dialogue he told then Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Oban Jr. "to do away with the agenda of the meeting" and be frank with their counterparts. "We told them 'lets not talk about the wish list. We are not looking at Santa Claus. This is where we are coming from and we just want to know if you are onboard'."

In other News: Super Shuttle Links Philippine Islands Via ATI’s Manila South Harbor

According to Pama, they told the US delegates that if they will not be "onboard" with the Philippines, "we will have to do it alone, because, in the first place, its ours."

"The question there is, "how will they look in the international community if you are not a reliable partner?" he emphasized.

Pama further stressed that "whether we like it or not, the issues on sovereignty and the challenges will remain there."

"That (West Philippine Sea) is ours," he said, "We just want to get out of (that) room (where the meeting took place) having the mutual feeling that we are both reliable partners."

Subsequently, the US government agreed to the Philippine military's "wish list." Pama said, "because those are the things that we need for us to be a reliable partner in whatever challenges that will exist."

"But of course, they have to go back to their usual party line that they don't have any position non territorial disputes," he pointed out. "But what is important there is our military to military relationship."

Related story: Purisima is next PNP Chief

If the Philippines request was turned down, Pama said they can "agree to disagree without being disagreeable but at the very least we understand each other."

"You have your interest we have our interest we have a common interest, we work together well and good, that's what we told them (their US counterparts)," he said. "Beyond that we are still friends."

"When we leave the table we can shout with each other after that there's nothing personal, these are just issues," Pama added. "With other countries, we have to balance. That's where the diplomatic side should come in."

And with the signing this week of Republic Act No. 10349 that initially earmarks P75 billion to boost the capability upgrade program of the military for the first five years, Pama is optimistic that by 2020 "we shall be a strong and credible navy that this maritime nation can be proud of."

"We are 7,107 islands and with the longest shoreline, it's only fitting that we have a strong and credible navy," Pama remarked.

US Military personnel are currently in the Philippines to attend a planning conference for Balikatan 13 -the largest annual US-Philippines military exercise, which will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

However, they were redirected to assist with the response efforts in the aftermath of typhoon "Pablo."

In addition, the US military is providing air transport and other assistance in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the US Department of Defense Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) Program to support the relief effort led by the Philippines government.

Also, US Marine Forces Pacific Command has sent personnel and supplies to transport loads of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies via C-130 planes.

In a televised interview, Swire stated that the Philippine government should "talk to their colleagues and to work with other players in the area to try and get some agreement" on how to best resolve the ongoing territorial dispute with China.

The UK foreign office minister noted that Japan, which also has an ongoing territorial dispute with China, as well as South Korea will soon have their national election.

"So this seems to be a good time for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to engage, try to dampen down some of the rhetoric that has been going on surrounding the South China Sea issues," said Swire.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Manila announced that the USS Emory S Land (AS-39), a submarine tender, will arrive in Subic Bay on Sunday for a routine port call that highlights the strong historic, community, and military connections between the US and the Philippines.

According to the US embassy, this visit will allow the ship to replenish supplies as well as give the crew an opportunity for rest and relaxation.

The USS Emory S Land is part of the US Pacific Fleet and is homeported in Diego Garcia.

The US embassy said that while in Subic, the ship's crew will continue to work with the Philippine Navy on engineering subject matter exchanges, as well as basic sailor skill building activities such as shipboard damage control and fire fighting.

The crew will also engage in several community relations projects, including a Christmas-themed event with the Children's Recovery Unit in Olangapo City, as well as sports activities with local youth.

As ASEAN summit closes, South China Sea issues lingerASEAN summit closes in Phnom Penh but differences over South China Sea territorial disputes remain. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Noy leaves for US
    Noy leaves for US

    President Aquino leaves today for the United States to begin his three-day North American trip that will culminate in a state visit to Canada. The President departs at 8 a.m. on a chartered Philippines Airlines flight to Chicago for a one-day working visit. From Chicago, the President will proceed to Canada where he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will witness the signing of bilateral agreements on labor cooperation, development assistance and infrastructure development. Canada is home to …

  • China accuses Phl of violating South China Sea Code
    China accuses Phl of violating South China Sea Code

    China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back again after repeated criticism of China’s own construction work. China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea, and from building new structures that would complicate disputes. In a statement released just before …

  • Noul to bring stormy weather to central, northern Luzon
    Noul to bring stormy weather to central, northern Luzon

    Tropical storm  Noul  (international name) will bring stormy weather to the eastern section of Central and Northern Luzon this weekend, as it slightly gained strength and moved westward toward the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday. Rene Paciente, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) senior weather forecaster, said the eastern section of Central and Northern Luzon, including Aurora, Isabela and Cagayan, may experience rains with gusty …

  • House asked to allocate P500-M legal aid for OFWs
    House asked to allocate P500-M legal aid for OFWs

    The House of Representatives was asked yesterday to appropriate P500 million for legal assistance for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Reprieved death convict Mary Jane Veloso mirrors the tragedy of many OFWs in search of better job opportunities abroad “who become victims of human and drug trafficking and other forms of exploitation,” according to Bill 5704 that the seven-member Makabayan bloc of lawmakers had filed. The lawmakers said Veloso’s family claims that they were not …

  • World’s best place to be a mom: Norway is tops; Phl 105th
    World’s best place to be a mom: Norway is tops; Phl 105th

    Norway ranks as the world’s best place to be a mother, well ahead of the United States, which dropped to the 33rd spot in the annual scorecard released by Save the Children on Monday. Somalia is the worst place, just below the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The Philippines placed 105th out of 179 countries, but the Save the Children report, which profiled Metro Manila among other cities, said that the National Capital Region has done better than most megacities …

  • Philippines' largest telco sees costly, painful fight
    Philippines' largest telco sees costly, painful fight

    Philippine Long Distance Telephone, the country's largest telecommunications firm, said Tuesday it expects to spend nearly $1 billion in a "painful" fight to survive the consumer shift to digital from traditional phone services. The listed company said net profit for the first three months of the year was flat at 9.4 billion pesos ($211 million), and the full-year net profit would likely fall below the 34.1 billion pesos it posted last year. "It's either we pivot or we perish," PLDT chairman …

  • China says Philippines violating South China Sea code

    China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back again after repeated criticism of China's own construction work. China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea, and from building new structures that would complicate disputes. In a statement just before midnight …

  • Mineski’s 2015 SEA grand finals to be held in Malaysia

    Twelve teams from seven countries will be participating in this year’s Mineski Pro-Gaming League South-East Asian Grand Finals (MPGL7 SEA Grand Finals), set to take place from May 9-10. For the first time, the finals will be held outside of the Philippines, instead taking place in Selangor, Malaysia as part of the 2015 Selangor Cyber Games. “The decision to move the grand finals from PH to Malaysia came into mind last year, right after the Season 6 grand finals,” said Marlon Marcelo, …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options