PH-US joint maritime patrols with Japan, Australia “being worked out”: envoy
Joint maritime patrols that the country will have with the United States , Japan, and Australia are still “being worked out”, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said Monday.
In the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) Prospects Forum at Makati Diamond Residences, Romualdez said the Philippines had indicated that it would like to resume joint maritime exercises with the US.
“We would like to resume it together with our friends from Australia and hopefully from Japan and other countries. All of this is still being worked out. Again, this is all for the security of the area and to be able to have a freedom of navigation at the same time. These patrols are basically just for the security of the Indo-Pacific region,” Romualdez said.
“We live in a global village, so we want to have peace and stability. So we are very hopeful that Japan will play a role with our friends US and Australia,” he added.
Department of National Defense Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III in February agreed to resume joint maritime patrols during their bilateral meeting in Camp Aguinaldo.
The secretaries also discussed the full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which expands American access to military bases in the Philippines.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved last month four new EDCA sites.
Romualdez said Marcos may announce the location of the sites “very soon”.
“As far as the EDCA sites are concerned, of course, we have identified them but the announcement will have to come from the President himself…As of now, he wanted to go into a consultation with many of the areas where these EDCA sites would be located. I think he had his command conference meeting not too long ago. Maybe a week and a half or two weeks ago. And from what I know the announcement should be coming out very soon,” Romualdez said. Jaspearl Tan/DMS