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The Philippines and the U.S. Sign “Enhanced Defense Cooperation” Pact
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It has been reported that U.S. President Obama is expected to announce the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation deal when he arrives in Manila on Monday. According to Bloomberg News, the Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg will sign the accord for “enhanced defense cooperation” a few hours before U.S. President Barack Obama starts a two-day state visit.

According to U.S. officials, the new 10-year security pact will allow for an enhanced “rotational presence” of U.S. forces in the country, but not for a return of U.S. to the military bases. It will allow U.S. forces to train and conduct exercises with Philippine forces for maritime security, disaster assistance and humanitarian aid, officials reported according to Reuters. General Emmanuel Bautista, Armed Forces Chief of Staff, said in an interview on ANC, that the Constitution does not allow foreign military bases in the country, except under a treaty approved by the Senate. According to China Topix, the new defense agreement will allow rotating US forces temporary access to military camps where they can position their fighter jets and ships.

  
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Bloomberg News has reported that, President Benigno Aquino is strengthening military alliances with countries such as the U.S., which is treaty-bound to defend the Philippines in case of an attack. Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser, said that the agreement with the Philippines would allow the U.S. to better assist with natural disasters, humanitarian aid, piracy and maritime security. “We’re looking forward to enhanced defense cooperation with our friends and allies. We have a mutual defense treaty with the United States and we’d like to strengthen that further. And we have been friends and allies with United States for a long time, and we will be, in the future, for a longer time,” General Emmanuel Bautista said, according to Yahoo News.

Image Credit: www.philstar.com

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