The Philippines should end its dependence on United States for its national security needs, this was stated by Presidential aspirant Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago Thursday, April 7. “The Philippines will have to once and for all abandon its full-spectrum dependence on America as a guarantor of its national security,” the lady senator said in a statement.
The statement from Senator Santiago came days after US-PH joint wargames Balikatan 2016 started in where the US brought in for the first time its M142 High Mobility Rocket Artillery System (HIMARS).
She noted that VFA and the EDCA are silent on the extent of American commitments to the Philippines, while imperiling the country’s sovereignty and welfare, and it is also unclear whether the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 covers the West Philippine Sea disputes.
“Obviously, the Philippines or any regional state can never match Chinese defense spending, but we will have to have to develop minimum deterrence capabilities that allow us to resist and inflict sufficient retaliation if China continues to undermine Philippine territorial integrity,” Santiago said.
She added that instead of relying on the US military might, or acquiescing to China, the Philippines will have to augment its surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence-gathering capabilities in order to effectively monitor developments in its surrounding waters, preferably at least within its 200- nautical-miles exclusive economic zone.
She also believes that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should be developed only second to the Coast Guard when it comes to territorial integrity. However, she said it is crucial for the AFP to adopt a more outward, maritime-centered security doctrine, instead of focusing on domestic security.
Senator Miriam said that if she wins the presidency she will strengthen the Philippine Coast Guard and maintain a strong presence in Philippine-held territories in West Philippine Sea. “So long as we don’t permanently alter the nature of disputed features, we will not be violating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” she said.
“The Philippines must ensure that it adopts, as much as possible, an equi-balancing strategy towards both China and America. To push back against Chinese adventurism by deepening Philippine dependence on another power runs counter to the very logic of protecting its national sovereignty,” she noted.
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