MANILA, Philippines – United States President Barack Obama will spend the second day of his trip to the Philippines with Filipino troops at the military headquarters in Taguig City, according to an advisory from the US Embassy on Thursday, April 24.
“President Obama will deliver remarks recognizing the longstanding partnership and cooperation between the US military and Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the embassy said.
Malacañang said defense is the top agenda of Obama’s visit next week, April 28-29. Against the backdrop of growing maritime disputes in the region, the Philippines has sought military assistance from the US, a treaty ally. (READ: Obama visit to give ‘clearer understanding’ of PH-US alliance)
The Philippine and the US are treaty allies with a long history of cooperation. The US used to have bases in the Philippines that allowed the presence of tens of thousands of US troops here.
But the Senate voted in 1991 not to renew the treaty. American troops were able to return in 1999, however, following the approval of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows the temporary presence of US troops in the country.
The new agreement titled Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDC), which is expected to be signed during Obama’s visit, will lead to increased presence of American troops here and allow them to build facilities inside military bases. Critics have slammed what they called a de facto basing. (READ: PH, US draft military deal for Aquino review and details of the EDC draft here.) – Rappler.com
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