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Lugi ba tayo dyan? Lorenzana wants mutual defense treaty with US reviewed

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By Prince Golez

It is time for government to review the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States of America, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday, Lorenzana recommended revisiting the decades-old PH-US defense treaty to find out whether it is still relevant today.

“That was done in 1951 and when that was done in 1951 there was this raging cold war, may cold war noon eh. Do we still have cold war today?” the secretary asked.

“Let us look at it in a dispassionately, without considering about past ties, about future ties — dispassionately. Ito bang treaty na ito still serves our interest as a nation? Iyan ang kailangan nating tingnan, hindi naman na sinasabi na i-strengthen natin para tulungan tayo kung may gulo – sino ang kalaban natin? Are we still hoping na somebody will attack us here in the Philippines? I don’t think so. Wala naman tayong sigurong kalaban na sasakupin tayo eh,” he added.

Lorenzana said he has directed their lawyers to start looking into the treaty to determine if it should be maintained, strengthened, or scrapped.

“So ngayon, ngayon, tingnan natin iyon: Does it support our national interest at this time ha, modern na tayo ngayon ha. This is no longer 1951; not even 1960s. This is 2018. So ito pa sa ating nakakasuporta pa sa ating national interest or not? Dapat iyon ang ating maging ano… we are going to approach this MDT, to look at it in the backdrop of what is happening in the area at saka iyong interes natin as a nation; not the interest of other nations but our interest,” the Defense chief also said.

In a media interview before the start of the ASEAN-China Summit in Singapore last November, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was “worried” by the tension between the United States and China in the disputed South China Sea as he cited the Philippines’ defense agreement with the US.

“It’s (mutual defense treaty) not abrogated. It’s there. And even I don’t know if it’s the decision of the President, Congress, the Armed Forces,” Duterte said.

“I am worried. I expressed it last night because we have a defense treaty, mutual defense with the US and there’s some serious miscalculation. You know because of the treaty I’d like to tell China that is why at all cost we must have the (Code of Conduct),” he added.

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