The country cannot invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States despite increasing Chinese harassment in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Hindi pa po, yung ganitong mga sitwasyon, hindi pa po kailangang iinvoke yung MDT, yung mga mas malalang mga atake, a deliberate attack for instance on our Philippine ships or an attack dito sa ating teritoryo would necessitate yung paginvoke natin ng MDT. [For a situation like this, not yet, the MDT does not have to be invoke for this, it could only be invoked in a severe attack, a deliberate attack, for instance on Philippine ships or an attack in our territory, that would necessitate the invoking of the MDT],” by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in broadcast interview Tuesday.
Signed on August 30, 1951, the MDT is an accord that stipulates that the Philippines and the United States would support each other if either of them were to be attacked by an external party.
However, Brawner believes that joint patrols or joint sails with like-minded allies in the WPS are more applicable as this will show that the country is “united” with its allies.
“Tuloy-tuloy yung ating mga joint exercises, joint patrols, joint sails dito sa WPS ng sa gayun ay makita ng kahit na sino man ano na talagang united tayo with our partners and allies. [Our joint exercises, joint patrols, joint sails in the WPS will continue, to show to anyone that we are united with our partners and allies],” the AFP chief said.
Earlier, National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said China’s continuing efforts to impede and harass Filipino supply boats and their escorts on going about their lawful mandate in the WPS is increasing the tensions in the area as exemplified by the latest collision incident that affected two Philippine vessels last October 22.
“The provocative actions are on the part of China. It is not the Philippines that is increasing tension, it is China that is increasing tension in the WPS ,especially by interfering and blocking our legitimate resupply mission,” National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said in a press briefing Monday.
Malaya also called the collision that damaged Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel, PCG Cabra (MRRV-4409) and supply boat, Unaiza May 2 as “alarming.”