- Posted August 13, 2013 by
U.S. troops in Phl vs China
A negotiating panel had been formed Tuesday to draft a framework agreement amid the country’s increasing territorial dispute with China which claims in its entirety the energy-rich West Philippine Sea.
The negotiations, however, between the Philippines and United States for an increased U.S. military presence in the country is not yet a done deal, a Palace official said.
"This is not [a done deal]. That's why they have to sit and discuss. We're after a high impact and high value exercises that will benefit both sides," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
The Palace earlier pointed out that the U.S. troops would not only help in "minimum credible defense" to guard Philippine territories but also in humanitarian disaster response operations.
Valte official also said “national interest” was considered in the plan to open access for more U.S. troops in the Philippines.
She reiterated that the agreement would be within the framework of the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement and Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries.
Under the VFA, American presence in the country is allowed to temporary stay for joint trainings with the Philippine military.
Valte assured that concerned officials would disclose the full details of the negotiations with the U.S. regarding access arrangements.
As this developed, several lawmakers have expressed fear the plan would violate the Philippine Constitution, but officials assured that the agreement would be done within the parameters of the law.