We’ve all heard about the MDT or Mutual Defense Agreement with our closest military ally the United States of America which puts our friends in our side in the event of an attack on any of our own territorial areas most particularly the capital urban zones or mainland islands. However, its not clear whether this includes waters within our own EEZ.
Here’s the full text of the agreement :
MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY Between the THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and the THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Parties of this Treaty
Reaffirming their faith in the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments, and desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific area.
Recalling with mutual pride the historic relationship which brought their two peoples together in a common bond of sympathy and mutual ideals to fight side-by-side against imperialist aggression during the last war.
Desiring to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity and their common determination to defend themselves against external armed attack, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of them stands alone in the Pacific area.
Desiring further to strengthen their present efforts for collective defense for the preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area.
Agreeing that nothing in this present instrument shall be considered or interpreted as in any way or sense altering or diminishing any existing agreements or understandings between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America.
ARTICLE I. The parties undertake as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relation from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
ARTICLE II. In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty, the Parties separately and jointly by self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.
ARTICLE III. The Parties, through their Foreign Ministers or their deputies, will consult together from time to time regarding the implementation of this Treaty and whenever in the opinion of either of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either of the Parties is threatened by external armed attack in the Pacific.
ARTICLE IV. Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.
ARTICLE V. For purposes of ARTICLE IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.
ARTICLE VI. This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.
ARTICLE VII. This Treaty shall be ratified by the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America in accordance with their respective constitutional processes and will come into force when instruments of ratification thereof have been exchanged by them at Manila.
ARTICLE VIII. This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Either Party may terminate it one year after notice has been given to the other party.
In witness whereof the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this TreatyDone in duplicate at Washington this thirtieth day of August, 1951.
For the Republic of the Philippines
(Sgd.) CARLOS P. ROMULO
(Sgd.) JOAQUIN M. ELIZALDE
(Sgd.) VICENTE J. FRANCISCO
(Sgd.) DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL
For the United States of America
(Sgd.) DEAN ACHESON
(Sgd.) JOHN FOSTER DULLES
(Sgd.) TOM CONNALLY
(Sgd.) ALEXANDER WILEY
The historic treaty was ratified around 1951 and was meant to deter communist invasion of the Philippines and that the US will be able to immediately use its forces to support and defend the Philippine home islands. However, since this an agreement made several decades back and is no longer consistent with the current geo-political situation.
And perhaps what seems more appalling is that the US seemed to be timid in its reaction against China’s intrusion in the West Philippine Sea. Many were asking if the Mutual Defense Pact can be invoked in this instance and not necessarily an attack against the Philippine metropolitan areas.
This was brought up by Duterte in many of his speeches a while back and now his own Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana hinted that it needs a thorough review if it needs to be scrapped or not.
“That was done in 1951, there was this raging Cold War. Do we still have a Cold War today? Is it (still) relevant to our security. Baka hindi na?” – Lorenzana
This was in part one of the signature move of the Duterte administration for a complete independent foreign policy which has marred with questionable sincerity because of his continuous reliance for Chinese money and investments in exchange of high-interest loans or concessions in the West Philippine Sea.
Ditch an insensitive US friend and be a Chinese slave?
What took the ire of many was Duterte’s seemingly timid and total submission to his Chinese benefactors. Most notably was his sudden non-chalant approach in key security issues and critical developments in the West Philippine Sea which amongst others includes expansive island-building activity, new hangars, spy or signal jammers and even a cruise missile facility that can strike as far as the sea of Mindanao and puts the entire Palawan island in its crosshairs.
The ploy on junking Mutual Defense Treaty/Agreement with the opens up the entire country free from foreign attack such a Chinese invasion of the home islands. Since the treaty itself puts the US and any of its immediate allies to provide military aid in the event of armed military action from any hostile sovereign country attempting to encroach and invade Philippine metropolitan areas or home-islands.
Could this move puts the Philippines at risk and will soon fulfill Duterte’s wishes of a Chinese Communist Party rule over the Philippines?
We don’t know for certain but one thing is sure. Duterte is not planning on junking the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US not simply because of its ineffectivity in reacting to Chinese intrusions in the WPS since most of it was self-inflicted to begin with. If you remember that Arroyo allowed China access to these areas under the JMSU Agreement and the US couldn’t just intervene in that matter.
Even Duterte himself hinted that China must make the Philippines its own province. And even sent party officials to come and learn how the Communist regime in China takes an iron grip on its people and effectively ruled over them. That training most likely includes specific tactical political strategies and maneuverings such as attacking the opposition and consolidating state powers into one single party or better known as the ”supermajority”.
The future looks bleak as the Philippines slowly floats away from our civilized past where many countries revered our rich and dynamic democratic culture. Now it’s all slowly deteriorating. As Gloria Arroyo cooks CHA-CHA in the House of Representatives. We all know this won’t end well for all of us. I hope those who continues to support Duterte should just at least wake up on their senses.
Our country is in great great danger. We can’t let this happen. Speak up now and be on the right side of history.