The military alliance of the Philippines and the United States is over 70 years old, but there is a new vigor to the relationship, unseen since the Vietnam War. What explains this new dynamism, what can we expect from the reinvigorated relationship, and is all this really in the country’s best interests?
Here’s what’s happening: four new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites agreed upon, the first so-called 2+2 meeting in seven years, the largest Balikatan military exercise ever.
The state of the military alliance of the Philippines and the United States is remarkably healthy, and noteworthy for several reasons. Under the Duterte administration, the Philippines pivoted away from the United States and toward China; as a candidate, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ran with a pro-China reputation. The mutual embrace of the second Marcos and first Biden administration is remarkable not only for its scale, but also for its speed.
What is happening?
In this episode of In The Public Square, veteran journalist and Rappler columnist John Nery talks to retired Navy Rear Admiral Rommel Ong. Admiral Ong was commander of Naval Forces West in 2017 and served as vice-commander of the Philippine Navy from 2018 to 2019. Since his retirement, he has gone on to many related pursuits, including serving as a professor of practice at the Ateneo School of Government.
Watch In The Public Square on Wednesday, April 19, at 8 pm. – Rappler.com