US-PH celebrates 72 years of Mutual Defense Treaty; US firm in ironclad commitment to the alliance
US-PH celebrates 72 years of Mutual Defense Treaty; US firm in ironclad commitment to the alliance
US-PH celebrates 72 years of Mutual Defense Treaty; US firm in ironclad commitment to the alliance
by Karen Ow-Yong30 August 2023
Photo Courtesy: US Embassy in the Philippines

MANILA - The United States affirms its ironclad commitment to the PH-US alliance Wednesday in line with the 72nd anniversary of the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

In a message, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay L. Carlson said that the United States stands firm in its ironclad commitment to the alliance and partnership with the Philippines “as we face new and continuing challenges.”

In February, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. approved four additional military sites under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), where US troops, their aircraft and other defense equipment can indefinitely station. This brings the total number of EDCA sites to nine.

Also, last week a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation visited the country and vowed support in the form of increase security financing, which is considered to be a “lion’s share” of American security assistance in the Indo-Pacific region.


The delegation, consisting of a chairperson of the House subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific and members of the Foreign Relations Committee, strongly condemned what they called China’s “lawlessness” and escalating aggression, including the recent water cannon attack on a Philippine re-supply mission for soldiers stationed on the beached BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.

In a media interview, California Rep. Young Kim (R), chairperson of the Indo-Pacific Subcommittee said, ““We are here to show that we are going to meet strength with strength and it is imperative that our defense alliance is strong to combat the growing PRC (People's Republic of China) pressure.”

Young added that the new EDCA projects are (the) first step and the US is hoping to increase joint patrols in the area.

Meanwhile, China has strongly opposed American military access to the EDCA sites, saying this will be used as staging grounds to intervene in disputes in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.


In relation to this, Texas Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D) reiterated that China is engaging in “lawlessness”, and together with her colleagues agree in denouncing the actions China has taken.

“It is almost impossible to understand we can function in the world when you have countries that just decide that the only rules that they’re going to play by are their own rules that they make up,” Crockett said.

Asked if the US Congress would support potential American military actions under the MDT to help defend the Philippines in case its forces come under an armed attack, Illinois Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D) said, “We stand in full support to honor our commitment to stand by your sovereignty and security.”

“Congress will stand united in supporting that, yes, and that includes attacks on Philippine vessels,” Young said.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly stressed Washington’s commitment to stand by the Philippines against aggression and warned China that an attack on Philippine military in the South China Sea would trigger the MDT.

“The MDT in my mind is very clear. If there is an armed attack against a Philippine asset then we are treaty-bound to support that, the Philippines,” said Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr (R).

The U.S. President, as Commander-in-Chief, may commit U.S. armed forces into action overseas but under the US Constitution is obliged to notify the U.S. Congress within 48 hours, as provided for under the U.S. War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Under the same resolution, such commitment could not go beyond 60 days, with an additional 30-day withdrawal period without the authorization from the U.S. Congress.


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