Lorenzana says DND will continue reviewing MDT
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense (DND) will continue the review of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States despite the opinion of Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
“No, I have not”, said Lorenzana in a Viber message on Saturday.
''The review of DND will continue, the joint discussion is not yet scheduled. We have not yet officially notified the other side,” he added.
Arsenio Andolong, DND public affairs service chief said, Lorenzana maintained his stand as he believes that today’s situation is far different from more than 60 years ago.
“Yes Secretary Lorenzana stated that he will still insist on the review of the MDT, because his reason is when the MDT was crafted in 1951. It was meant to serve as a defense against invasion by a foreign state, because primarily that was made because of the adventurism of Japan. Now we have far different condition that existed compared to 1951,” he said.
“The Secretary of National Defense said yes we need to do the review because todays conditions do not reflect the spirit of the 1951 MDT anymore we now have new conditions,” he added.
Andolong also cited terrorism and cyber warfare as an example of existing security threats.
“Now we have terrorism... (it) is not a state sponsored act.,What the (other) states do now, they train terrorists and they used them to attack other states,'' he said.
''(We) also have the threat of cyber warfare. Is that considered an attack? Because what (United States Secretary of State Michael) Pompeo said yesterday is about armed attack but cyber warfare now proceeds ( from) all form of physical attack (and threats from) other nation,” he said.
“What if another country suddenly occupies one of our islands and they took it without cost? Does that constitute an armed attack? Nom but they violated our sovereignty and sovereign rights and it does not reflect on the MDT,” he added.
In an interview with reporters last Friday, Locsin said there is no need to review the MDT saying that ambiguity of the agreement is the “best deterrence”.
“In vagueness lies the best deterrence. How do you flesh out that vagueness? In repeated assurances that the United States in the event an act of aggression is committed against the Philippines, I don’t believe that going down into the details is the way the sincerity of the American commitment will be shown,” he said.
“They will respond, depending on the circumstances. But we are very assured, we are very confident that United States has in the words of Secretary Pompeo and in the words of President Trump to our President, ‘We have your back,” Locsin added. Robina Asido/DMS