Part 2: Where is our Independent Foreign Policy?
The latest version of the MAA is the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement renewed in 2017 providing the legal mechanism to access locally sourced resources abroad, while also benefiting the broader bilateral relationship with the Philippines and providing the foundation for the bilateral security relationship and enable critical U.S. military support, presence, and interoperability.
The Philippines is currently undertaking an ambitious 15-year military modernization program, which will continue through 2027. Separated into three phases, Horizon 1, 2, and 3, this program is projected to cost over $40 billion and aims to address longstanding shortfalls in the Philippines’ defense capabilities.
Since FY 2015, the US Department of State has provided the Philippines with over $463 million in security assistance under its authorities, primarily via Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education and Training, and Peacekeeping Operations funding through the Global Peace Operations Initiative.
The US Department of Defense has provided an additional $237 million in security assistance beginning in 2018, primarily under Section 333 Authority to Build Capacity, Section 332 Defense Institution Capacity Building, Section 1263 Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative, and the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF).
The U.S. has $1.033 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with the Philippines under the Foreign Military Sales system. FMS sales notified to Congress are listed here, and recent and significant implemented sales include: C-130T transport aircraft; Scout, Assault, and Light Support Boats; and AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe 3D Air Search Radars with related equipment, support, and training.
In 2019 and 2022 the Philippine Department of National Defense signed contracts to purchase 48 S70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters worth $865 million from PZL Mielic of Poland, a Lockheed Martin company, to perform search and rescue missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and troop transport.
From FY 2019 through FY 2021, the U.S. has also authorized the permanent export of almost $171.3 million in defense articles to the Philippines via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process. The top three categories of DCS to the Philippines are Firearms, Close Assault Weapons, and Combat Shotguns ($56.1 million); Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines ($35.8 million); and Gas Turbine Engines and Associated Equipment ($25.3 million).
To argue therefore that the Mutual Defense Treaty is necessary in order to allow the United States to extend military assistance to the Philippines is a lot of horse pucky. The evolved Mutual Logistics Support Agreement takes care of that.
Arguing also that we need the Enhanced Defense Agreement to beef up our readiness to meet calamities because of climate change is also ludicrous. All the natural disasters during the Duterte administration were addressed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council with flying colors.
All this hogwash of economic benefits Senator Francis Tolentino pontificates to sites of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement we have with the Americans is hot air.
The United States has been transparent, in fact vocal, in aiming to convert EDCA locations to preposition its strength for its planned war against China as early as 2025. Statements have been replete from the Lloyd Austin III of the Pentagon, key US military generals and echoed by thinktanks from Washington DC and pro-American platforms and defense officials in the Philippines.
Finally, prolonging the Visiting Forces Agreement is merely to the advantage of the Americans to enter our territory at will, and joint war exercises is superfluous because we have no enemy, but the United States have lots of adversaries.
Another moronic suggestion was released by Congressman Rufus Rodriguez who wants to convert the Pagasa in our Kalayaan Island Group to be converted into an EDCA base. The same stupidity runs true to new proposed bases in Palawan, Zambales and Isabela and two sites in Cagayan. Why do we have to point our phalluses close to the direction of China?
China is not our enemy. It is only the United States that is posturing adversely against China.
Taiwan is not a geopolitical issue.
On January 1, 1979, The United States formally severed relations with Taiwan, when the United States and the People’s Republic of China formally established diplomatic relations, thereby bringing to a close a historic association upon which had rested a major pillar of American policy in Asia.
And why, pray tell me, would China have to invade its own province? If China wants to suffocate Taiwan, all it has to do is cut its exports to the mainland, amounting to 40% of the island’s outbound trade.
The Americans are running an absurd logic. Both the Philippines and the United States are signatories and ratifiers to the One-China Policy of the United Nations in favor of the Peoples Republic of China.
By fomenting Sinophobia in the Philippines, it is the Philippines that will be the staging ground of any World War Three intentions of the United States. Where they failed in Ukraine, they will try using the Philippines in the Indo-Pacific.
Only at the beginning of last month, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. made a successful visit to China. But ever since he went to Davos thereafter, he has been flipflopping on his public announcements.
As we speak, the most-circulated tabloid has already been touting him to be a puppet of the Americans. Earlier, pundits have been observing that he is an apple that has fallen far from the tree that was his father.
Bongbong must be reminded that our fruit exports were drastically cut by China when Noynoy manifested hostility towards Beijing. Now that would definitely a burst a hornet’s nest severely damaging our economy on its way to post-pandemic recovery.
Last February 7, a guest essay written by Gina Apostol appeared in the New York Times with the headline, “Dancing with America Has Been a Curse for the Philippines.”
She wrote, “For Filipinos like me who grew up under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the news that the U.S. military would expand its presence in the Philippines has been dizzying and wounding.
“The image of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin shaking hands in Manila last week with the country’s fatuously smiling president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the former despot, was like some tragic ‘Groundhog Day’.
“Mr. Marcos was elected in May. So Filipinos find themselves not only with another President Marcos but also with another creeping occupation by the U.S. military under the guise of East Asian security.”
On February 1986, the United States kidnapped the Marcoses and exiled them (including the sitting president) in Honolulu, thus perfecting a coup that placed the opposition in power.
The Philippine Constitution prohibits war as an instrument of national policy, yet the air is full of war games that will endanger putting the country in harm’s way of a hot war. Dismissive of the fact that a precursor the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization disbanded in 1977, there is even talk of replicating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in our neck of woods.
No definite direction has openly been made by the chief architect of Philippine policy, and when he speaks it often leads to more questions than answers, more problems than solutions.
So how possible is it that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is conducting a soft coup against Malacanang, in cahoots with the Americans?
Or is the President simply slow and feeble to determine an independent foreign policy, leaving the Americans and their local lackeys to define it for him?