The Philippines and Spain signed an agreement that would allow a smoother exchange of classified information for military purposes between the two countries, Manila’s Department of National Defense (DND) announced on Friday, November 5.
In a statement on Friday, the DND said the agreement was signed on November 4.
“…an agreement between the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) of the Kingdom of Spain on the Protection of Classified Information in the Field of Defence, was signed on 4 November 2021 in Madrid,” the defense department said.
The DND added that the signing of the pact recognized the importance of information sharing and strengthening the country’s relationship with security partners. The pact was signed during Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s visit to Spain, where he met Spain’s Minister of Defense Margarita Robles.
According to the defense department, the pact would regulate the exchange of military information, including details on equipment acquisition.
“The said Agreement provides a framework to regulate the exchange of all classified information in the course of bilateral defense cooperation, including but not limited to defense equipment acquisitions and transfer of technology,” the DND said.
The United States government defined classified information as a set of information that requires “protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national defense and security or foreign relations.” The information was also denoted by classification levels: Top Secret, Secret, or Confidential.
Meanwhile, the DND said Lorenzana and his Spanish counterpart also discussed the strengthening of alliance in the Indo-Pacific region.
Manila’s defense chief and Robles also reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment “to further enrich defense industry collaboration, increase exchange of students, and explore other areas of defense cooperation.”
After colonizing the Philippines for over three centuries, the official diplomatic ties between the two countries started on September 27, 1947. The ties were further strengthened in 2003 after the signing of Republic Act 9187, which declared June 30 of each year as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day.
Recently, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS) signed a trilateral agreement, which strengthened the cooperation of the three countries. The AUKUS also enhanced the security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The agreement also solidified the status of Australia as one of the strongest allies of both the US and the UK. Despite China’s negative reaction toward the pact, Australia reiterated that the agreement will only strengthen military cooperation among the three countries.
In October this year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced a new pact with Australia. According to the ASEAN, the pact would enable a “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the ASEAN countries and Australia. – Rappler.com