PH envoy says Marcos not objecting PH-US MDT, but wants clarification


PHILIPPINE Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said that there were several areas in the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., wanted to clarify.

Romualdez said that it was merely a clarification being sought and not objection.

“He wants to make everything really precise and perfect. Ayaw niya yung (He doesn’t want) neither here nor there,” Romualdez said in a television interview.

“He would like to always clarify and make sure everything is exactly what it says, perhaps that’s what’s in his mind,” he added.

“‘Yung sinasabi ni Presidente na ‘evolve’. Nage-evolve na nga ngayon actually, so parang any kind of agreement when you look at it and review it,” Romualdez also said.

On Monday, Marcos said that there is a need to “evolve” the 70-year-old MDT. He said this is one of the topics that they will be discussing in his official working visit to Washington in May.

Romualdez noted that there is an existing mechanism that will update the treaty and it can be done through the mutual defense board, which also adjusted the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

“That I think is one main clear provision that is now klarong-klaro na talaga ngayon. Kasi noon maraming mga salita na sabi nila na pag merong mutual defense treaty tayo agrabyado tayo dahil ang United States kailangan nila ng congressional act. Ang lumalabas ngayon hindi na ganon,” said Romualdez.

“Ang US hindi na sila manghihingi pa ng approval, so to speak, from their Congress. ‘Yun ang pinakamaganda ngayong nangyari the evolvement of our Mutual Defense Treaty,” he said.

“Lahat ‘yan nakalagay na yan sa addendum or agreements,” he added.

Catherine R. Cueto

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