“President Biden reaffirms the United States’ ironclad alliance commitments to the Philippines, underscoring that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”
“The leaders welcome the identification of new sites pursuant to the U.S.-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which will strengthen Philippine security and support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization goals, while driving U.S. investment to local communities across the Philippines and improving our shared ability to rapidly deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” – The Joint Statement by U.S. President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., May 1, 2023
The Joint Statement by U.S. President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. represent a new era for the US-Philippine Defense Alliance as the Chinese threat drives the urgency of our deepening National Security obligations with the Philippines and to our Pacific island allies. The legacy and commitment to the Philippines built on our 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) define our Defense relationship and dedication. The Philippines remains sacred ground and strategic terrain, as it has supported the US during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror.
“When we become unready, the danger only increases. When we don’t compete forward, when we don’t compete in different ways, with different people, that video is going to show you 4 live fires from 4 different countries that has never been conducted just in the past years. By a singular battalion. Think about that, we have a ton of battalions of capability. One battalion, to include last week in the Philippines, fired directly west. When was the last time United States Army air defense operated in the Philippines? World War Two.” – Major General Brian Gibson, May 3, 2023, FIRES Symposium in Fort Sill, Oklahoma
The most recent joint military exercise, known as Balikatan, demonstrated U.S. and the Philippines military cooperation on Fires and Defensive FIRES from Philippines bases to defend and strike from sea and air threats. In the Balikatan exercise, the United States had the historic first live fire of a Patriot Missile Defense System in the Region to include Japan, Okinawa and Korea. The Patriot Missile Defense System using PAC 2 interceptors deployed on a Philippine base at its Northern Territory facing the South China Sea and China, intercepted two MQM-178 Firejet missiles, representing a cruise missile threat, over the West Philippine Sea in the face of the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific region. In its layered defense architecture in the Philippines, the United States deployed and fired its Avenger Air Defense Systems, armed with Stinger missiles, and 50-cal machine guns intercepting UAV targets.
This live fire exercise provided the opportunity for the U.S. Army Air and Missile Defense soldiers and the Philippines Armed Forces to collaborate and work together, further strengthening the two-country relationship. In addition, the rapid deployment and emplacement of strategic level capability demonstrates the commitment of both nations and the importance of providing defensive fires to a designated location of the first island chain.
It is to be noted that along with the United States and Japan, the Philippines has a significant role to play in the event of a Taiwan crisis as its strategic position of its northern territories are 120 miles from Taiwan. The Armed Forces of the Philippines will focus on modernizing its Air/Maritime/Land and Missile Defense capabilities that include sensors and effectors. The US-Philippine military alliance may be the most consequential of our five Indo-Pacific Alliances due to the extraordinary expansion opportunities for securing mutually supportive National Security interests in this region.
Over 150k Filipinos live and work in Taiwan. The relationship between Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines is growing stronger driven by the unprecedented continual threatening actions of China. As the Chinese continue to threaten sovereign Philippines’ territory, the U.S. will now execute Joint Maritime Patrols to protect that territory from unlawful Chinese incursions. This new and developing operational design will serve as a model for integrated deterrence and defense by an integrated approach to upholding the tenets of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific!
It’s a TD for Territorial Defense, it’s a TD for Touchdown in the Philippines, it’s a TD for Theater Defense, it’s a TD for Terminal Defense, and it’s a Touchdown for a Free and Open Pacific.