House inquiry on US-Philippines defense guidelines eyed

A resident rides her bicycle past armed soldiers along a street in Navotas in suburban Manila on July 16 after the local government reimposed a lockdown in the city due to increased COVID-19 infections. Photo: CNN. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, May 8, 2023, The Manila Times. Act Teachers Rep. France Castro said the Makabayan bloc, a group of lawmakers to which she belongs, was considering filing a resolution for a congressional inquiry on the bilateral defense guidelines between the United States and the Philippines, The Manila Times reported.

Earlier this month, the adoption of the guidelines was announced by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden when they met during Marcos’s visit to the US.

Makabayan “is studying the possibility of filing the House resolution,” Castro said in an interview with The Manila Times over the weekend.

She said the resolution might be filed this week.

The House of Representatives adjourned last March 22 and will resume session today, May 8.

In a fact sheet published on the White House’s website earlier this month, Biden and Marcos announced, among others, that their countries were adopting the guidelines “that institutionalize key bilateral priorities, mechanisms, and processes to deepen alliance cooperation and interoperability across land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.”

The guidelines “support the continued modernization of the alliance and ongoing efforts to adapt alliance coordination to respond to the evolving security environment,” the fact sheet stated.

As outlined in the guidelines, the US and Philippines will “deepen interoperability, particularly through enhanced bilateral planning; information-sharing; accelerated defense capability development; and collaboration on emerging security challenges.”

The Manila Times asked Castro if she supported the guidelines.

“If we allow the intervention of the US for our aid, that would escalate the conflict between US and China,” she said.

In February, Marcos granted US troops access to four locations in addition to the five under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Marcos has made it clear the Philippines will not allow its bases to be used for any offensive action.

Share it

Exclusive: Beyond the Covid-19 world's coverage