Skip to main content

US lawmakers back stronger ties with Philippines


WASHINGTON — US lawmakers backed Obama administration efforts Tuesday to forge a stronger relationship with the Philippines and said Congress soon would approve the transfer of a second ship to help the ally’s navy defend its waters.
Republican Representative Ed Royce told a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs hearing on US-Philippine relations that the congressional review process for transferring the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas will be finished this week, and the ship should soon be on its way to Manila. Another aging US cutter, the Hamilton, was transferred to the Philippines last May.
The US has sought to boost the Philippines’ ability to maintain its maritime security because of its ally’s concern over assertive Chinese behavior in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
While the United States has no territorial claims in the region, the top US diplomat for East Asia, Kurt Campbell, reiterated that the US has a national interest in such claims’ peaceful resolution and the freedom of navigation in seas that carry about a half the total tonnage of world trade.
Campbell said the US was considering a “reasonable” Philippine request also to transfer gear stripped from the Hamilton before it was handed over.
The US took the sensors from the ship before it was decommissioned, as well as its communications and electronics equipment, and close-in weapons system, which is used to detect and destroy at short range incoming anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft.
The ship, commissioned in 1967, was transferred under a program that offers “excess defense articles” to foreign partners in support of US national security and foreign policy objectives.
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy said the Hamilton had completed on Monday its first patrol in the vicinity of the Spratly Islands.
Asked about possible Philippine acquisition of F-16 fighter jets, Lavoy was noncommital. He said the US was considering a range of military capabilities requested by Manila, and “affordability and sustainability” would be critical in evaluating them.
Campbell, who stressed the importance of stronger economic ties, spoke in gushing terms about the bilateral relationship with the Philippines, one of five US treaty allies in Asia.
“There’s no country in Asia that’s more welcoming to the United States, more supportive of a stronger relationship and more on our side, rooting for us every step of the way,” he said.
He described the Philippines’ president, Benigno Aquino III, as a person of “rare integrity” and lauded his efforts to fight corruption.
The two Republican lawmakers who spoke at the hearing supported administration efforts to strengthen ties. Royce said the Philippines had been largely ignored in US foreign policy in recent years, but that was starting to change.
Representative Dana Rohrabacher, an arch critic of China, praised the joint US-Philippine efforts to fight Islamic militants in the southern Philippines. For the past decade, hundreds of US forces have helped equip and train Filipino forces there.
Rohrabacher described an air strike last week that killed a leader of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group, for which the US shared intelligence, as a victory against radical Islam.
“We need to stand as aggressively and as solidly with the Philippine government in confronting an aggressive, arrogant, expansionist China as we have in standing against radical Islam,” he said.
-----------------------------------------
Inquirer.Net
8:44 am | Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

AFP Modernization 2017: Highlights and Review

The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was on a roll this year, as we've seen a few big ticket items having completely delivered this year. Game changers as they say, these new assets have proven their capabilities both in combat and humanitarian missions.

Here's a brief on everything what we know about the AFP modernization this 2017.

Philippine Air Force  FA-50PH


The final batch of the FA-50PH Lead-In Fighter Trainers have been successfully delivered by the Korean Aerospace Industries last May. The last batch of 2 arrived on May 31st at Clark Air Base. The contract consist of 12 FA-50's at the price of Php 18.9 billion. AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla mentioned on a March 23 article in Inquirer that there are plans to purchase 6 more additional FA-50's if the funding allows it and if the performance is good.

FA-50PH Weapons - AIM-9 Air-to-air Missiles
Aside from the aircraft itself the Department of National Defense also ordered AIM-9

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

Special Forces Assault Boat and the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation

Special Forces assault boats to beef up patrols in Davao Gulf
Special Forces assault boats will soon patrol Davao Gulf to detect and deter piracy and terrorist threats in southern waters.

Two of these boats were formally turned over by Special Forces Regiment commander Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey to Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal in Davao City on Tuesday, the EastMinCom said in a statement.

Madrigal said the boats will be “an additional capability in securing the municipal waters in the area of responsibility, particularly Davao Gulf, to preempt terrorists, piracy and other security threats from using the sea lanes in their terrorist and criminal acts. It can also be used for water search and rescue operations.”

The boats have counter/anti-terrorist capability and will be manned by Special Forces Riverine troopers.

The boats will be initially deployed with Joint Task Force Haribon which has the jurisdiction of Mega Davao, the Eastern Mindanao Command said.

Ori…